Research on TMJ treatment is still emerging. Because of this, it’s wise first to consider the safest approaches possible that don’t have associated risks or cause permanent changes to your body.
There’s a wealth of options available to try before resorting to more extreme measures like surgery and other procedures. In fact, some of the best treatments at your disposal include simply doing less to irritate your TMJ! Those without associated pain likely don’t require treatment.
There are great starting places to help treat your TMJ disorder and reduce your symptoms:
- Avoid gum, biting your nails, and difficult-to-chew foods in favor of soft foods
- Skip out on large movements to your jaw like yelling and loud singing
- Practice proper posture, especially when seated at a computer
- Perform exercises recommended by your dental or medical professional to strengthen or relax your jaw
- Build a routine of stress reduction and relaxation, especially before bed if you grind your teeth
- Wear a mouthguard (also called a night guard) for sleep to reduce the effects of grinding
- Apply heat (for 5 minutes) or cold (for 10 minutes) to the side of your face multiple times a day
- Consider prescription or over-the-counter medication to manage pain, swelling, or anxiety
Important note: It’s vital to follow the recommendation of your dental or medical professional. Only take medications as instructed on the packaging and as prescribed.
Because many of the more aggressive treatments are not reversible, it’s a good idea to seek a second or third opinion from another medical or dental professional. There are various other treatment options available when more conservative approaches have proven ineffective.
Other treatment options for TMJ disorders may include:
- Therapy using radio wave therapy, trigger-point injections, ultrasound, or electrical currents.
- Procedures such as open-joint surgery, arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, or dental restoration to fix your bite.
TMJ disorders can be unpleasant and stressful, but rest assured that they are a wide range of treatment options. Your best bets are avoiding jaw irritation in the first place, stress reduction, and checking in with your dental or medical professional for their expert opinion. You're now more prepared and informed than ever to manage your symptoms.