5 Jaw Exercises To Help Ease Nerves Before The Dentist

Posted on: 13 July 2015


Just the thought of going to the dentist can result in a clenched jaw. Instead of arriving at your dentist appointment stressed, you can take preventative measures to ensure that you are relaxed as possible. By focusing directly on your jaw, you have the ability to stretch muscles and keep an open mouth for when your dentist goes in for an exam. The following five jaw exercises are not just great for the dentist, but they can become a part of your daily routine to add strength and flexibility.

Clench & Drop

This stretching exercise helps relieve stress in your jaw and will keep the muscles relaxed for the next few hours after completing it.

  • Clench your jaw tightly for five seconds. Press your tongue to the top of your mouth while doing this exercise. It helps close the jaw as tight as possible.
  • Release your jaw and let it naturally drop down. Do not over stretch on the drop. You want your jaw to naturally fall into this position and stay there on its own.

Repeat this process ten times. Continue this routine each morning. Try to start it about a week before your dentist appointment to help build up a regime.

Pressure Massage

A pressure massage helps relax muscles and alleviate stress to the jaw bone.

  • Place two fingers on the each side of the jaw. The best location is the furthest point of your jaw, usually located directly under the ear.
  • Gently press in and rub your fingers in a circular clockwise motion. Continue this process for 30 seconds while your jaw remains shut.
  • After 30 seconds, slowly open and shut your jaw while continuing to make the circular motions. Do this for another 30 seconds.

After a few days of completing this exercise, you will be able to put more pressure on the jaw and complete the task for extended amounts of time.

Circular Jaw Movements

Add some flexibility to your jaw with circular stretches. While at the dental office, this will allow you to move and adjust your jaw for deep cleaning, x-rays, or when inserting things like cotton balls into the mouth.

  • Start with your jaw wide open and outstretched. Stretch the bottom jaw in clockwise motions. Repeat this process 10 times.
  • Reverse directions and move the jaw counter-clockwise ten times. If you feel pain during the stretch, then take breaks as needed or limit yourself to five motions until you can build the proper strength.

Mirror Jaw Stretch

Visualizing your jaw movements can help you follow a dentist's directions while sitting in a chair. You will have the ability to see how far your jaw stretches while building additional flexibility.

  • Face the mirror and stretch your jaw out as wide open as it goes. Hold it open for a few seconds and then slowly close it.
  • Repeat this process, trying to open the jaw wider each time. Continue to open and close your jaw for five minutes.

After this stretch your jaw will be loose and relaxed. Once you've done this in a mirror, you can get additional practice while driving to the dental office.

Finger Jaw Stretch

Instead of just stretching the jaw on your own, your fingers can help with the process.

  • Take two fingers and hook them on the inside of your bottom. Slowly pull and stretch the jaw open as far as it goes. With the fingers, you should be able to stretch the jaw out a little more than usual.
  • Repeat this process ten times. Be sure not to pull down on your teeth or yank too hard. This can cause damage to the jaw instead of actually relaxing it.

After completing these exercises, you will be relaxed and ready for the dentist. If there are a few extra minutes in the waiting room, then you can complete a couple quick stretches before your appointment starts. Contact a dental office to find out more about how to relax and prepare for your appointment.