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How to Open and Close Your Jaw the Right Way!


Hello Everyone, My name is Alizah Shahar and I am an Oral Myologist and Speech Pathologist with TASL Speech Therapy Consultants here in Houston, TX.

Today’s topic is about how to open and close your jaw appropriately. We first will begin by understanding what muscles we use to open and close our mouths.


Major Muscles to Open Your Jaw

There are three major muscles to open your jaw are the Temporalis muscle, Masseter, and Lateral Pterygoid Muscles. The Lateral Pterygoid muscle is attached to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). When these three muscles are tense it can cause tension or pain on the TMJ and restrict range of motion of the jaw.

Major Muscles that Close Your Jaw

The 2 major muscles to close your jaw are the masseter and the lateral pterygoid muscle. When there is tension in these muscles you will see a deviation of the jaw when closing.


I want to show you the inappropriate way to open your jaw before I show you the appropriate way to open and close your jaw.

In these pictures, the patients are utilizing their lip and cheek muscles to open and stabilize the jaw. The use of these muscles to open your mouth causes tension to your temporomandibular joint. Also you are causing tension to your tongue to keep the jaw open. So if you already have tension or pain in the area of the TMJ, opening and closing your jaw like this will add additional tension and possibly pain.


Now, let’s look at the right way to open your jaw.

When you only activate the three major muscles of opening the Jaw, you will not see any tension on the cheeks or tightening of the lips. The tongue is relaxed at the floor of the mouth. Activating these muscles stabilizes the jaw and will allow your tongue to move freely.

Schedule a Free 30 minute Consultation with our expert level therapist at TASL Speech Therapy Consultants



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