TMJ Disorders Treatments

Understanding the Treatments for TMJ Disorders

There are a number of treatments for TMJ disorders, but there is little evidence that any of them are very effective. Your TMJ treatment choices should almost always be conservative.

In the medical community, there is considerable debate about the benefits of various TMJ treatments, so as you decide on your treatment options, it's always a good idea to get a second opinion. This is especially true if you're considering surgery or expensive devices.

Some TMJ treatments used in recent years have been ineffective and occasionally harmful. These results prompted the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (an institute within the National Institutes of Health) to promote its "Less Is Often Best" campaign.1

Until science and medicine better uncover the best practices for treating TMJ disorders, your best option will usually be cautious, conservative, and minor treatments.

In-depth Articles on TMJ Disorders Treatments

Conservative TMJ Disorder Treatment Options
A recent study published by the University of Wisconsin found that the most effective TMJ treatment is hot and cold packs.2

Very simple and inexpensive treatments often work for TMJ. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, some of the treatments you should consider include:

  • stress reduction
  • eating soft foods
  • having a medical professional teach you to relax, massage, and stretch the muscles near your jaw
  • avoiding activities that stress your jaw such as yawning and chewing gum
  • using heat and cold packs on your neck and face
  • exercising
  • using pain and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen
  • discussing with your doctor if you should use muscle relaxers
  • work with your dentists to try a mouth guard or other non-permanent appliance

These solutions are reversible. If they make your symptoms worse, or have no effect at all, you can stop using them.

Surgery and Dramatic TMJ Disorder Treatments
On occasion, some doctors and dentists may suggest surgery or other major treatments. Be cautious before committing to these treatment options, and always seek a second opinion.

In general, do not pursue surgery unless:

  • conservative measures have failed
  • there is strong, independent evidence that these procedures can benefit you
  • the evidence is confirmed by a second opinion

If these three criteria are not satisfied, you might want to continue using conservative treatments until you heal, or until more evidence points us to effective TMJ disorder treatments.

Updated on: 11/19/15
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