Exercise to Prevent Clicking of the Jaw Joint
This exercise should be carried out sitting in an erect posture in front of a mirror.
It should be done at least twice daily in this position until the art of contracting the muscle beneath the chin has been completely mastered.
1. Clasp both hands behind the nape of the neck to provide a `headrest’.
2. With the mouth closed and the teeth lightly touching, contract the muscle beneath the chin; attempting to pull the chin
back into the neck without opening the mouth.
By observing the chin and neck in the mirror, it is possible to see the actual contractions of these suprahyoid muscles.
3. It is essential not to move the jaw or teeth when doing the exercise. Once the art of muscle contraction is learned it should be done for 3 – 5 minutes each hour, not necessarily sitting or in front of a mirror.
4. With practice, a definite sensation of tension will be noted in the suprahyoid muscles and in the region of the jaw joints.
5. Once the essential exercise has been learned, it can be done with small mouth opening movements, learning to open the jaw with a backward pull and avoiding the `click’. Day by day, the extent of the mouth opening is increased, always with the jaw positively retruded.
6. Gradually increase the extent of mouth opening until it can be opened to the full normal extent without producing a `click’. Always keep the suprahyoid muscles retracted.
REMEMBER: Muscles can be coaxed but not driven.
If you keep practising this exercise for at least 2 – 3 weeks, it will become second nature and the click will not return.