Take the Pressure Off Your Teeth
I'm constantly recommending my TMJ playlist to people who are experiencing discomfort in their teeth or jaw. Perhaps you have problems with misaligned bite that a dentist is recommending a bite guard, extractions or other (expensive) interventions to help with. Or you are concerned about the appearance and health of your crooked teeth. Or a stressful situation has caused your jaw to lock painfully. I didn't even know that I was clenching, and perhaps grinding, my teeth in my sleep until my dentist pointed out that my molars were cracking from the pressure.
There's almost no situation where relaxing the jaw won't improve your wellbeing! Not only does it relieve tooth clenching and grinding (bruxism) but it can relieve pain and inflammation in the roots of your teeth. It can also be helpful for sinus problems, mouth breathing, snoring, posture, migraines and other headaches and much more.
There are long term benefits for your teeth and gums beyond the (often instant) pain relief that TMJ relief can provide. There is less friction wearing away at your teeth enamel so your teeth are more resilient to decay. With less pressure, your teeth are less likely to crack and chip. Blood flows more easily, carrying nutrients and oxygen to your teeth and gums so your body can express its natural inclination to remineralise your teeth and regrow your gums.
Although sometimes professional interventions (eg cranial oesteopathic or chiropractoric treatments, or even a skillful therapeutic massage) may be required, for most people the kind of self-help techniques demonstrated on my playlist makes an immediate difference. Practiced regularly, you can retrain your body to default to a relaxed jaw, even in stressful situations. If you are considering professional intervention, learning to relax your jaw will enable those treatments to work more effectively so you'll get more value from the investment.
My TMJ playlist on YouTube is getting quite long, so this blog posts introduces a few of my favourite clips, to make it easier to choose which one might suit you best. I do encourage you to check out the full playlist because there are all sorts of interesting modalities to explore.
Fast pain relief
Karuna Hub for the Heart is the number one most helpful clip I've shared. Several people have let me know that it relieved extreme discomfort instantly, before the video had even finished. Don't be put off by the word yoga in the title: there are no poses to bend you out of shape. Karuna has a North American accent and demonstrates a sequence of very simple self-massage techniques that you can practice anywhere with playfulness and humor.
While you are sleeping
Sleep Hypnosis Jaw Relaxation and Teeth Grinding is a safe guided hypnosis session to listen to as your are falling asleep. Michael Sealy has a pleasant voice with an Australian accent. This clip is particularly useful if you clench or grind in your sleep. Press play once you are all settled into bed with the lights off. Its a good idea keep the device you play this on as far from your head as possible while your sleeping, and to make sure that the light from the screen is not visible to distract you from falling asleep as you listen.
Acupressure for your jaw
This is another self massage clip with a acupressure perspective. This is short and sweet exercise that is demonstrated explained without any waffle, in a North American accent.
This is the video that introduced me to TMJ work about three years ago and it has helped me tremendously. I follow this full routine whenever there's extra stress in my life and I practice the meditation portion of it almost daily for maintenance. Esther Ekhardt has a beautiful Dutch accent.
The yoga class includes a shoulder stand, which is not a posture I would recommend trying for the first time without a yoga teacher in the room in real life. However, you could skip that pose (and any of the poses that you don't feel confident about) and follow the rest of the class to get just as great a benefit.
If you are an experienced yogi, I recommend this video, not only for the specific directions but also for the inspiration of how to incorporate TMJ focus into your regular practice.
Tapping, or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can be a powerful tool for relieving physical symptoms with an emotional component (and I would argue that all physical symptoms have an emotional aspect). However, if you are not familiar with EFT, this is not the best video to learn about it as it assumes prior knowledge.
EFT is extremely easy to learn in just a few minutes, so if you are curious, detour over to this quick introduction or an indepth explanation at The Tapping Solution, and then come back to this clip for your jaw and teeth (demonstrated in a North American accent).
But wait, there's more...
This is just a taster of the different self-help techniques for taking the pressure of your teeth and jaw. For more, check out the playlist I have curated. There is something for everyone, so if the methods in this post don't appeal, you might prefer binaural music, psychotherapy or sleep position alignment.
I also explain how relaxing the TMJ supports teeth healing in this guest interview on the Living Fabulously with Bev podcast. Check it out!