|Posted on June 30, 2013 at 10:45 PM|
There are approximately 43 muscles in the human face. These muscles are important for showing emotions as well as speaking and eating. It is understandable that many of these can be overused contributing to tightness or underused contributing to sagging.
The masseter muscle is usually the major one responsible for TMJ problems, as well as headaches, clenching or bruxism. It is found on the jaw and chin and is the primary muscle used for chewing food and every time we open and close our mouth.
While the masseter is an essential and helpful muscle, it also plays a role in conditions like
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Teeth clenching
- Tooth damage due to clenching
- Temporomandibular joint syndrome or TMJ Disorder
Apart from that, it is also a trigger point in the body – or an area where stubborn aches and pains usually occur, perhaps contributing to headaches and unexplained tooth pain. When the masseter is tight, there is limited blood flow, creating limited oxygen supply to all areas of the face, which in turn creates achiness of the face and reduced healing ability of the teeth and gums.
A simple daily masseter massage can make a tremendous difference in your dental health, facial pain, TMJ problems, anxiety and your ability to break the clenching/bruxism habit.
I have seen this work extremely well for myself and many patients, so here is how it is done.
Massaging Your Masseter
Massaging your masseter is easy, because you can quickly locate it. The masseter is located on both sides of the face, hanging from the underside of the cheekbones and attaching to the brow bone.
- Massaging The Notch
One thing you can do is to massage the notch located on the underside of your cheekbone. This is around one inch in front of your ear. This is a perfect spot to press and massage. You can apply firm pressure on this spot, depending on your preference. You can do kneading circles or constant pressure to do this.
- Inside Out Massage
Another thing you can do is to take one hand and insert your thumb in your mouth. Place the thumb against the masseter muscle from the inside of your mouth. Press, pinch and massage the masseter in between your thumb and your forefinger. You can tell if you’re massaging the right place by clenching your jaw. If your fingers are pressing a big muscle, then you’re doing it right. This massage may feel uncomfortable, but can provide excellent results
- Jaw Acupressure Point
Another massage trick you can do is to press the Jaw Chariot acupressure point. These are two points located on both sides of the face, right at the bottom of the masseter near the outside corner of your jaws. Press these points insert using two fingers. Pressing deep can cause you to feel a slight discomfort – but a good one at that.
Here’s a good video that shows one technique.
You can do these massages for five minutes daily to fully experience their effects.
Relaxing and massaging the masseter daily will help keep the muscle strong, pain-free and tension-free. If painful conditions or symptoms persist, be sure to visit our office for better guidance.
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