The Best Treatments for TMJ

Sometimes, symptoms of TMJ disorders subside without specific treatment for TMJ. But if your pain or discomfort persists, your dentist or doctor may suggest several TMJ treatment options. Often, more than one measure may be needed at the same time.

TMJ Disorders Treatment

Medications may work well along with other nonsurgical TMJ treatments. The following drug options alleviate TMJ pain for many patients:

  • Pain Relievers and Anti-inflammatory Drugs: If over-the-counter meds do not relieve your TMJ symptoms, prescription pain relievers. Typically, NSAIDs like ibuprofen are the standard treatment for TMJ.
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants: Drugs like amitriptyline, that used to manage depression, are also known to relieve TMJ pain.
  • Muscle Relaxants: These medications may be prescribed for several days or weeks to treat symptoms of TMJ disorders.

Non-Drug Therapies for TMJ Pain

Common non-drug treatments for TMJ disorders include:

  • Mouth Guards or Oral Splint: Patients who suffer from jaw or TMJ pain benefit from wearing a mouth guard or oral splint over their teeth. It controls teeth clenching and alleviates tension on the jaw joint.
  • Physical Therapy: This might include moist heat, ice, ultrasound and stretching and strengthening exercises for the jaw.
  • Counseling: It helps if you understand what habits and factors aggravate your TMJ pain so that you can eliminate or avoid them. Common TMJ causes include teeth grinding or clenching, biting fingernail biting or leaning on your chin.

Surgical Treatment for TMJ

When all else fails, there are surgical TMJ treatments and other procedures available to address TMJ symptoms:

  • Arthrocentesis: This minimally invasive procedure involves small needles that are inserted into the jaw joint to allow fluid to be irrigated through the affected area to remove inflammatory byproducts and debris.
  • Injection Therapies: Corticosteroid is helpful for some patients when injected into the jaw joint. Sometimes injecting Botox, or similar toxins, into the chewing muscles is an effective TMJ treatment.
  • Arthroscopy: For some individuals, arthroscopic surgery relieves symptoms of TMJ disorders. A thin tube is inserted into the joint space, followed by an arthroscope to uncover TMJ causes and other surgical instruments.
  • Modified Condylotomy: This procedure indirectly treats TMJ causes by operating on the mandible, as opposed to the joint. If the sufferer experiences lock jaw, this TMJ treatment may be effective at relieving pain.
  • Arthrotomy: If your TMJ pain does not respond to conservative treatment methods, a structural problem may be to blame. Arthrotomy or open-joint surgery may be necessary to replace or repair the faulty joint. However, this solution comes with more risks than any other option and should be carefully considered.

Alternative TMJ Treatments

Alternative TMJ disorders treatment techniques are worth trying. Non-traditional medicine such as acupuncture, relaxation techniques or biofeedback may manage chronic TMJ pain by helping to relax tight, tense muscles.