TMJ - Treatment

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What is the treatment for TMJ syndrome? Are there any home remedies that provide TMJ pain relief?

Many symptoms of TMJ syndrome can respond well to home remedies or stress reduction and relaxation techniques. The following home remedies may provide some relief:

  • Ice or cold packs to the area of the joint
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve)
  • Eating soft foods and avoiding chewing gum
  • Massage or gentle self-stretching of the jaw and neck muscles (a doctor or physical therapist can recommend appropriate stretches)
  • Relaxation techniques and stress reduction

When home remedies are not effective, medical treatment options may be necessary. These include the following:

  • Dental splint (occlusal splint or stabilization splint or bite guard), which is a dental appliance placed in the mouth that keeps the teeth in alignment and prevents tooth grinding. This resembles a mouth guard and is usually prescribed and fitted by a jaw specialist.
  • Botox may be used to relax the muscles of the jaw. However, this is not currently an FDA-approved treatment for TMJ syndrome.
  • Physical therapy with jaw exercises can strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and range of motion.
  • In states where medical marijuana is legal, it may be prescribed to help with severe TMJ pain.
  • In severe cases, surgery on the jaw or dental surgery may be necessary.
    • TMJ arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure usually done in an outpatient setting. Recovery time for this procedure is about a week.
    • Sometimes a total joint replacement is needed. This generally requires a stay in the hospital for several days, and recovery time is four to six weeks.
  • Prescription-strength pain medicines, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatory medications, or steroids may be necessary.
Return to Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)

See what others are saying

Comment from: susan, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 21

Ultrasound given by a physical therapist works wonders for jaw pain from TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder). I also use the Alpha-Stim 100. You can find information on this device online.

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Comment from: vs, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 05

I went to my first orthodontist when I was 6 years old. I wore braces and headgear for 5 years. I had 3 mm of bone removed from my top jaw and the lower jaw broken and reset in two places. I also had a chin constructed to give my lips closure. This helped with the TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) pain for many years but it is deteriorating. I was told by doctors at the time that I would probably have to have it all reconstructed one day. I have no cartilage in the jaw joint, just bone wearing down bone. Never have I ever rested with my teeth together. They simply don't match or feel right doing that. A doctor told me my muscles feel like a rubber band that has been stretched out for too long and has lost its snap. Two of them came in to marvel at the directions they are in like I was a carnival freak. Ring and pinky stay numb on both hands.

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