Is jaw tension really a big deal? There is something about the idea of having your teeth drilled, filled or even pulled out that makes your skin crawl. Your body literally wants nothing to do with the procedure and goes ahead to shut down on you. Some dental practitioners in Concord mention that the tension is particularly problematic for them as they have to use more effort and care to access your mouth while your jaw isn’t relaxing. So yes, it is a problem you need to deal with.
How to relax your jaw
1. Take a warm/hot drink before the procedure. The warmth helps increase blood flow to the oral cavity and surrounding structures including the jaw. In the simplest terms possible, the effect here will be easier relaxation of the jaw. However, this should only be done if the procedure does not involve going under.
2. Take something sweet. This is an old-wives-tale on dealing with anxiety that actually works. The sweet increases your blood sugar levels giving the adrenaline in your body something to work on.
3. Talk. This is a great way to sneak in some jaw exercises without seeming like a nervous wreck. Talk to whoever is accompanying you, your Uber driver, the receptionist, the nurse and basically anyone who will listen. This helps stretch your jaw muscles and thus relieves mechanical tension.
4. Avoid chewing gum before your appointment. This makes the anxiety-driven jaw tension worse by adding mechanical contraction forces. That’s a lot of technical terms in one sentence but the point is that gum only makes things worse.
5. Do some yoga or meditation. This allows you to deal with the root of the anxiety so that you do not have to result to any mechanical interventions. Just close your eyes and do some simple breathing exercises as you wait and this will do you a lot of good.
6. Ask for muscle relaxants. Finally, if all this fails just ask your dentist if muscle relaxants are an option. You can ask for sedation through laughing gas or general anesthesia. This is only necessary in the event that your anxiety is so bad that your jaw literally refuses to unclench for the procedure.