Our office handles the conservative management of pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).  As most TMJ dysfunction (TMD) is related to muscle spasm or fatigue, the following self care tips can be used to improve symptoms.  For those patients who do not respond to conservative treatment, a referral will be made for further evaluation and treatment.

Self-Care Tips for TMJ Dysfunction

1.      Rest the Muscles and Joints—this will allow healing.  Rest includes:

A)     Eating soft foods.  Avoid crunchy and chewy foods like hard nuts, carrots, and hard breads.

B)     No Chewing Gum!

C)     Avoid clenching or grinding of teeth.  Practice the rest jaw position of:  "Lips Together Teeth Apart"

2.      Avoid opening too wide.

A)     Control yawning—limit how wide you open during a yawn

B)     Eat small bites

C)     Avoid general anesthesia if possible

D)     Avoid long periods of mouth opening during dental procedures or cleanings—ask to take a break.

3.      Apply COLD for severe pain for 10 minutes - this is for new injuries of less than 72 hours and newly re-injured areas. 

4.      Apply MOIST HEAT for 20 minutes to promote healing by increasing the blood flow to the injured area.  This is for pain lasting longer than 72 hours and can be alternated with cold.

5.      Massage the jaw and temple muscles to help with muscle relaxation

6.      Maintain Good Posture—avoid a forward head posture

7.      Hold your phone and do not cradle it with your neck

8.      Sleep on your side or back as opposed to on your face/chin.

9.      Exercise regularly

10.  Practice Stress Reduction

11.  Eat Well—good nutrition promotes joint and muscle healing

12.  See your Dentist for a Night Guard to help relieve muscle tension