TMJ disorders have many and various causes, some of which will decrease over time on their own.

It is useful to know what is causing the TMJ symptoms and especially to make sure that they are not signs of other (more treatable or more serious) conditions.

Often the symptoms will be temporary and/or can be treated and prevented by following simple advice including:

  • Taking only a soft diet that doesn’t require too much chewing (at least until the symptoms have passed).
  • Avoiding opening your mouth too wide.
  • For example, when yawning try putting your hand under your chin to stop yourself opening too wide. Try cutting up fruit (eg apples) into pieces rather than biting off big chunks.
  • Avoid habits that can stress your TMJ such as chewing gum, biting pen/ or pencil tops or biting your nails.
  • Use simple pain killers as required.
  • Your dentist, doctor or oral and maxillofacial surgeon might prescribe some pain control for you. Ibuprofen (eg NeurofenTM) is one of the best types of analgesic for TMJ symptoms – but, as for all pain control, do not take it if you have been advised against it (eg by your doctor).
  • Jaw exercises can be helpful.
  • Your dentist or oral and maxillofacial surgeon might have shown you some – practise them regularly to train your joints and muscles.
  • Placing a warm towel over the painful area often helps relieve the pain.
  • Using a special splint on your upper or lower teeth to prevent grinding and clenching.
  • Your dentist can make this for you to wear (usually at night).
  • Treating the cause of your anxiety.
  • Some doctors will prescribe a type of anti-depressant for TMJ pain – these can reduce muscular tension and therefore TMJ pain.
  • Physiotherapists, as advised by your oral and maxillofacial surgeon can help some types of TMJ symptoms.
  • In a very small number cases, surgery on the joint by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a treatment of TMJ symptoms. This is usually only after trying the other measures.
  • As with other joint problems, TMJ disorders can be chronic in spite of treatment and taking steps to prevent it.

Sometimes, the patient will need to learn to live with some limitation of function – often this will only be from time to time.