6 At-home Treatments for TMJ Disorders

Bite Guard, Jaw Exercises, and Other At-home Treatments for TMJ Disorders

When it comes to treating TMJ disorders, there are a variety of at-home treatments that can help ease TMJ symptoms, especially jaw pain and discomfort.

In-depth Articles on Other TMJ Disorders Treatments

These 6 at-home treatments for TMJ disorders may help you.

  1. Choose the right foods: Eating soft foods, such as mashed potatoes and applesauce, can decrease jaw pain and discomfort. If you do eat hard foods (eg, raw carrots), be sure to cut them into tiny pieces or take very small bites. Also, eating sticky or chewy foods—and even chewing gum—can aggravate your symptoms, so limit these types of food.
  2. Do jaw exercises: Jaw stretches and other face exercises can help ease TMJ disorder symptoms. Your doctor, dentist, or a physical therapist can show you how to do at-home jaw exercises to stretch your jaw muscles. He or she can also show you how to massage the muscles in your jaw.
  3. Learn stress management techniques and do them frequently: Stress can aggravate TMJ pain—and that's why stress management techniques are so important to do. Examples of ways to control your stress at home are doing yoga poses, deep breathing, guided imagery, and meditation.
  4. Limit extreme jaw movements: Yawning and yelling are examples of extreme jaw movements that can place tension on the TMJ. Be aware of overusing your jaw muscles because it can lead to jaw strain.
  5. Use heat or cold therapy: Applying moist, warm heat packs or ice packs to your jaw can help to relax your jaw and face muscles. Your doctor will let you know how long to leave the ice pack or heat pack on, as well as the proper placement of the packs.
  6. Wear a bite guard: You can wear a bite guard (also called a stabilization splint) to help keep you from grinding or clenching your teeth. Bite guards are usually made of plastic; they fit over your upper and lower teeth, and they prevent your teeth from touching. There are numerous types of bite guards available—you can wear a soft or firm bite guard, for example.

    Bite guards should only be used temporarily (your doctor or dentist will let you know how long and how often to wear it). If the bite guard increases your pain or is beginning to change how you bite, stop using it immediately and call your doctor.

Adding these at-home treatments to your overall treatment plan for TMJ disorders can help make your TMJ disorder a lot easier to deal with. When doing these treatments, be sure to note your symptoms. If your TMJ symptoms get worse or you have new symptoms, talk to your doctor right away.

Updated on: 10/30/12