For some patients, the disorders may disappear by themselves; for others, they may come and go, or may worsen over time. TMD disorders are often managed, rather than cured.
There are several ways TMD may be managed. The success of the treatment often depends upon you and your dentist working together to find what works to relieve your symptoms.
Treatment may involve a series of steps. The step-by-step plan allows you to try simple treatment before moving on to more involved treatment. Experts generally recommend a “less is often best” approach to treating TMJ disorders.
We offer a TMJ exam that evaluates the joint tissue in the “hinge” of the jaw. Possible problems include swelling, deterioration of the joint tissue or damaged joint tissue, which cushions the jaw bones during the opening and closing movement of the mouth. Common pain relievers (such as ibuprofen) and cold compresses can provide temporary relief for most cases of TMJ.
The following self-care practices may be recommended:
- eating softer foods or avoiding foods that cause symptoms
- minimize extreme jaw movements, such as yawning, yelling or singing
- avoid chewing gum
- modifying the pain with heat or ice packs
- practicing relaxation techniques to control jaw tension, such as meditation
If necessary, your dentist may recommend the following to relieve your symptoms:
- exercises to strengthen jaw muscles
- medicines to reduce pain or inflammation, or to help you relax
- a night guard or bite plate to decrease clenching or grinding of teeth
- adjusting or reshaping some teeth
- orthodontic evaluation of bite stability