Bite problems can lead to some serious aches and pain. If you grind or clench your teeth over a long period of time you may end up with a chipped or cracked tooth. Even worse, you could experience headaches, ear ringing, severe jaw pain, or dental implant failure! The good news is, there’s preventative exercises that can relieve muscle stress and stop the onset of grinding and clenching. If it cannot be prevented, a bite guard or dental surgery can reset your bite and heal the problem.
The mouth is surrounded by bones that hold our teeth in place. If these bones shift, your teeth may shift with them, which cause our bite to strain. This straining creates tension in our face muscles which leads us to involuntarily grind or clench our jaws. Grinding is when tension forces your jaw to move in a horizontal or circular motion. Clenching is when tension forces the jaw to apply vertical pressure. If grinding or clenching persists, you may develop a continuous spasm, or “Charlie Horse”, in your face muscles.
Dentists can measure your bite to see if it is off balance. They use a very thin micron paper which records bite measurements. From this quick test, they’ll be able to diagnose you.
There are some simple jaw stretch exercises that can help to relieve face muscle stress. First, you’ll need to ice your face for 5-10 minutes on each side. Once cooled, there are four exercises to ease your muscles.
We’re all susceptible to bite problems. If we engage in preventative ice and stretching exercises, we have a good chance of keeping our face muscles stress-free.