Correcting Dysfunction of the 3 Muscles that Cause Tooth Pain: (Masseter, Temporalis, & Digastric)
First, let’s perform 3 simple tests of function:
TEST 1: Smooth Straight Quiet Jaw Opening (click picture to play video)
Instructions: Face a mirror. Place your first two fingers over your TMJ and slowly open and close your jaw. You should see smooth straight opening and closing and should not feel or hear any clicks or grinding, as shown in the video.
TEST 2: Two-Knuckle Jaw Opening
Instructions: Try to place your two knuckles of your non-dominant hand in between your top and bottom incisors. If your jaw cannot open wide enough to fit both knuckles, one of the 3 toothache muscles may be the culprit.
TEST 3: Palpation
Instructions: Follow the video to palpate each of the 3 toothache muscles. Instructions for finding the landmarks are given in the treatment section below.
Now, let’s correct the trigger points in 2 easy steps!
STEP 1: MOIST HEAT
You may use a towel that you have wet with hot water and wrung out or a microwavable pack or other moist heat source … just make sure not to burn the sensitive tissues of the face.
STEP 2: COMPRESSION with RANGE OF MOTION: (click pictures to play videos)
For each of the 3 muscles, use your self-care tool to compress taut bands and sore spots to tolerance. Maintain compression through two slow jaw opening and closing cycles for each point you treat, as shown in the videos below:
MASSETER – upper portion
Instructions: Find your cheek bone and slide downward off of it. That is the upper portion of the Masseter.
MASSETER – lower portion
Instructions: Find your jaw bone (Mandible) and slide upward off of it. That is the lower portion of the Masseter.
Instructions: Find where your cheek bone continues back behind the eye to the temple region of the head. Slide up off the cheek bone into the muscle tissue. That is the beginning of the horizontal line along which the main trigger points in the Temporalis are found. As you saw in the referred pain drawing in the section above, this line continues to just behind the ear. Treat all these points.
Instructions: The Digastric is made up of two portions that form a sling from the back of the jaw to the front, as shown in the referred pain diagram in the section above. Even though the trigger point that causes front lower tooth pain is in the portion under the chin, it is still a good idea to treat the whole muscle.
Watch the video to see how to find and treat both portions. Start behind the jaw bone (Mandible) and come around the angle and underneath it all the way along until the chin.
If your tooth pain is being caused by referred pain from these 3 muscles, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by performing these simple tests and corrections!
Until next issue … Enjoy!