General Instructions for Jaw and Face Pain

General Instructions for Jaw and Face Pain


The following are some general instructions for you to follow, in order to avoid pain, discomfort, or restrictions in your jaw.  If you follow these instructions, we are sure that it will help to relieve your symptoms.

1.  Lips together, teeth apart  Alot of our patients jaw and face pain is brought about by resting the teeth together (or worse - clenching).  The only time our teeth should actually touch is momentarily when we swallow.  After we swallow, our jaw should relax and our teeth should seperate slightly.  Please make a sincere effort to make this a habit.  It is very difficult to change clenching habits, because we are not usually conscious of what our jaw is doing.  However, accomplishing this change is probably the most effective way to avoid jaw pain.

2.  Tongue in the roof of the mouth - Most people are not aware of where their tongue rests.  It will help a great deal if you keep your tongue up in the roof of your mouth, with the tip resting on the gums behind your upper front teeth.  This will aid in keeping the teeth apart.

3.  Avoid any unnecessary use of your jaw - Try to rest your jaw as much as possible.  This means that you should avoid such activities as chewing gum.  Also avoid biting other objects such as pens, ice, or hard candy.  It would help to limit other activities such as singing, shouting, excessive talking, and playing wind instruments.

4.  Avoid hard, Tough foods - We want you to eat as normal as possible, but avoid hard, chewy foods like bagels and some breads, tough meats, and foods that require you to open wide to bite.  Take smaller bites and slice whole fruits and raw veggies into easily managable pieces. 

5.  Avoid stressful activities -  Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach or side.  Pressure on the side of your face can aggrivate jaw problems.  Also, avoid resting your chin on your hand.  Avoid over-streatching your jaw, as when you yawn or yell.  Avoid forcing your jaw open if it is restricted.  This will usually irritate the muscles and ligaments of your jaw.

6.  Get Adequate rest - Studies have shown that if we are deprived of adequate, sound sleep, muscles become sore, irritated, and tighten up.  This often leads to pain in the jaws.  Please try to get plenty of rest.