Let’s face it, no one likes going to the dentist. But a visit for even something as simple as a routine cleaning can leave you with a real pain in the mouth. The good news is, that for those of you suffering from Temporomandibular joint (TMJ)/Jaw pain and dysfunction, our Registered Massage Therapist is highly specialized in TMJ massage and can help you.
One of the leading causes of TMJ dysfunction is dental work. While laying in the dental chair can be a pretty stressful situation for anyone, keeping your mouth fully opened for prolonged periods of time is taxing to the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ). This position compresses the disc between the upper and lower portion of the jaw; in some cases, it can actually cause the disc to be displaced. It also puts a lot of strain on the muscles surrounding the joint itself. The result of all this compression and strain can cause pain in the jaw and mouth, and it can also refer pain to the face, teeth, sinus’, ears, all over the head and even down into the neck and shoulders. All that strain may leave you feeling achy, sore and potentially cause headache.
How can massage help?
Before Dental Work
If you’re someone who is prone to pain and headaches after seeing the dentist, having a massage treatment before getting in your dentist’s chair can help to reduce tension in the jaw and neck. This may also reduce stress if you’re feeling anxious about the work you’re having done. Massage before having dental work can also help reduce post dental work symptoms such as ear pain and neck tension. If you are someone who is prone to TMJ pain after even a simple procedure like a teeth cleaning, having a massage first can help.
After Your Visit to the Dentist
What if you’ve had dental work and now you’re experiencing pain in the mouth, clicking, locking, or headaches. First, our massage therapist will do a short assessment so they can understand what may be causing the symptoms you’re experiencing. They may want to do some massage on the neck and shoulders first, since pain and stress can cause both those areas to tighten up. Then the therapist will work on the outside of the mouth, massaging around the jaw, under the jaw, under the cheeks and even up into the temples. At this point the therapist may recommend intra-oral massage (massaging inside the mouth). Intra-oral massage can be up to 80% more effective than just massaging outside the mouth. Not everyone needs intra-oral massage but if working outside the jaw isn’t doing the trick it may be necessary. Most often the work is done between the cheek and teeth so the patient can have treatment even if they have trouble opening their mouth. Not only can massage of the TMJ and mouth reduce muscle tension, clicking and locking, but it can also stretch the muscles of the jaw without opening the mouth, and help reduce trigger points, myofascial pain and adhesions.
If you suffer from jaw, head or neck pain after seeing the dentist, consider booking an appointment with our registered massage therapist Calais Irwin. Calais is a Registered Massage Therapist with specialized training in TMJ/Intra-oral massage and has over 9 years of experience in treating jaw dysfunction.