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Jaw stretch exercise – how to prepare for your dental appointment


Have you noticed stiffness and tightness when dentist asked you to open your mouth?

If you clench or grind at night or day, it may be stiffer than how it was 6 months ago at the dental check up.

So if you started to notice some stiffness and tightness to open mouth wide, it may be worth preparing for your dental appointment earlier in the day or the day before or if you have some known jaw stiffness then worth starting stretches few days before.

Simple opening and closing mouth exercises with tongue on roof of mouth (we call it Oxford stretch so it is easy to remember) can help prepare for the dental appointment and get through the appointment without too much problem. In doing Oxford stretch, hold mouth open with tongue on roof of mouth for 5 seconds and repeated for 60 seconds continuously. That means you should be able to do 10-12 repetitions of 5 second holds in one minute. Try doing this more often as the dental appointment comes near.

Some dentists I have spoken to say you need about 38 mm open range sustained for at least 2 minutes to get good check on the back teeth.

As a general guide, if you can fit 3 fingers vertically when you fully open your mouth, then you are ok for the appointment.

Obviously please do not force your mouth open if at all painful and consult your local physiotherapist who has special interest in treating jaw issues.

So get your jaw moving and get through your dental appointment at ease!

Happy Rehab!

Jawkers’ Physiotherapy
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