TMD; Temporomandibular joint disorders; Temporomandibular muscle disorders
Simple, gentle therapies are usually recommended first.
Read as much as you can, as opinion varies widely on how to treat TMJ disorders. Get the opinions of several doctors. The good news is that most people eventually find something that helps.
Ask you doctor or dentist about medications you can use:
Mouth or bite guards, also called splints or appliances, have been used since the 1930s to treat teeth grinding, clenching, and TMJ disorders.
Failure of more conservative treatments doe not automatically mean you need more aggressive treatment. Be cautious about any nonreversible treatment method, such as orthodontics or surgery, that permanently changes your bite.
Reconstructive surgery of the jaw, or joint replacement, is rarely required. In fact, studies have shown that the results are often worse than before surgery.
For more information, see The TMJ Association --
For many people, symptoms occur only sometimes and do not last long. They will go away in time with little or no treatment. Most cases can be successfully treated. Some cases of pain go away on their own without treatment. TMJ-related pain may return again in the future. If the cause is nighttime clenching, treatment can be very tricky because it is a sleeping behavior that is hard to control.
Mouth splints are a common treatment approach for teeth grinding. While some splints may silence the grinding by providing a flat, even surface, they may not be as effective at reducing pain or stopping clenching. Splints may be effective in the short-term but could become less effective over time. Some splints can also cause changes in your bite. This may cause a new problem.
See your health care provider right away if you are having trouble eating or opening your mouth. Keep in mind that a wide variety of possible conditions can cause TMJ symptoms, from arthritis to whiplash injuries. Experts who are specially trained in facial pain can help diagnose and treat TMJ.
American Dental Association. TMD/TMJ (temporomandibular disorders). Available at:
Beuscher JJ. Temporomandibular joint disorders. Am Fam Physician. 2007;76(10):1477
Hampton T. Improvements needed in management of temporomandibular joint disorders. JAMA. 2008;299(10):1119-1121.
Scrivani SJ, Keith DA, Kaban LB. Temporomandibular disorders. N Engl J Med. 2008;359:2693-2705.
TMJ Disorders. National Institute of Dental or Craniofacial Research. Bethesda, MD. 2009 Feb 11. NIH Publications No. 06-3487. Available at:
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885