Exercises to improve the function of the
The purpose of the exercise is to prevent clicking
of the Jaw and to strengthen the muscles that pull
your jaw backwards. It will relax the muscles
that pull your jaw forwards or to one side as you
open your mouth, which will take the strain off
Set aside two five-minute periods every day at a
time when you can relax ie: before you go to bed
or when you get home from work.
i. Sit upright in a chair and close your mouth
on your back teeth, resting the tip of your
tongue on your palate just behind your
upper front teeth.
ii. Run the tip of your tongue backwards on
to the soft palate as far back as it will go
keeping your teeth in contact.
iii. Force the tongue back to maintain contact
with your soft palate and slowly open your
mouth until you feel your tongue just
being pulled away from the soft palate.
iv. Do not try to open your mouth any further,
keep it in this position for five seconds
and then close your mouth.
As you open your mouth you should feel tension
in the muscles at the back of your jaw and
beneath your chin.
For the first few times that you do the exercise
you should check in front of a mirror that the
lower teeth move vertically downwards and that
there is no movement from side to side as you
open your mouth.
If the exercise is being carried out correctly there
should be no clicks or noise from the joints. If
there is you are probably not doing it properly
and should carefully repeat steps i - iv.
Do this exercise no more than the recommended
amount for the first week. Initially, it may seem
to be making your pain worse, but this will be
due to the unaccustomed exercise.
Thereafter, do the exercise as often as you can
and it will help to strengthen the muscles around
If this exercise is carried out correctly and
regularly over a two to three week period you
will retrain your muscles so that your jaw opens
and closes smoothly without clicks or jerks and
any pain that you are experiencing will subside.
v. Relax for five seconds and then repeat i –
iv slowly over the next 5 minutes in a firm
but relaxed way.
The United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust
University of Bristol Dental Hospital
Telephone 0117 928 4372