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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.