Avoid jaw pain at your next dental visit

Are you hearing radio advertising about getting into the dentist before your Extended Health Benefits expire? It got us thinking…How can we help our clients that are seeking dental care in the next while?

Below are a few ideas to minimize the potential for symptoms after a dental visit:

  1. Rest your Jaw: Your jaw does not particularly like being open for extended periods of time. As patients, we may feel like it’s our job to keep our jaws as wide as possible during dental work. Before starting a procedure, ask your practitioners to give you a signal when you can let your jaw relax for a few seconds. It makes a huge difference!
  2. Rest your head/neck/fingers…toes?! Feeling a bit nervous? Recognize that bodily stress is a whole body experience. It might be difficult to relax your face and jaw during a procedure. You may do better to focus on keeping your shoulders, hands, and feet relaxed. Wiggle them a few times. Let your body be heavy.
  3. Breathe. No better way to relax than to breathe. You can count 5 big full breaths in and out of your nose and then take a break with some regular breathing for a minute. Nose breathing is easier for your facial muscles.
  4. Neck position can come into play. You may need to hold your head slightly rotated when you are at the dentist. When you have a moment, bring your head back to straight for a rest. Neck issues can contribute to face/jaw pain.
  5. Think ahead. Plan to have softer foods after your appointment. It’s not the time for crisp autumn apples or the mega burger you’ve been craving! If you know that your jaw does not tolerate procedures well or if you have chronic issues, plan for some physio before or after your appointment.

Key take home? Communicate. As therapists, we appreciate a head’s up on your concerns, history, and relationship with pain. We are sure dentists do too! If you are someone who has fear of having procedures or has had previous trauma, ask for help and awareness from your practitioners.

We hope this helps make your next visit a breeze!