Munson Health
Temporomandibular Disorder

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by Hollenstein J

(TMD; Temporomandibular Joint Disorder; Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction; TMJ Syndrome; TMJ Osteoarthritis)



Usually the least invasive measures will be tried first. Treatment may include:

Lifestyle Measures

  • Rest the jaw with a soft diet
  • Restrict movement with smaller bites, avoiding wide yawning, and gum chewing
  • Apply ice or heat packs for pain relief
  • Gentle jaw stretching and exercises

Physical Therapy

To help reduce pain and allow muscles to relax:
  • Gentle massage or stretching exercises
  • Gentle strengthening exercises or muscle balance exercises to retain alignment
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

Stress Reduction

Some may benefit from counseling to learn stress management and relaxation techniques, such as:

Dental Procedures

A splint or mouth guard can be made to relax your jaw muscles. This will prevent clenching and grinding of your teeth. The guard is usually worn at night. Correction of bite abnormalities by a dentist or orthodontist is sometimes needed.

Surgical Procedures

Surgical correction is a last resort. Many of the available procedures have not been well-studied for their effectiveness.


American Dental Association

The TMJ Association



Canadian Dental Association

Canadian Society of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery



Borodic GE, Acquadro MA. The use of botulinum toxin for the treatment of chronic facial pain. J Pain. 2002;3(1):21-27.

Haley DP, Schiffman EL, et al. The relationship between clinical and MRI findings in patients with unilateral temporomandibular joint pain. J Am Dent Assoc. 2001;132(4):476-481.

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at: Updated March 21, 2013. Accessed July 12, 2013.

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction . EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated May 31, 2013. Accessed July 12, 2013.

DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Turner JA, Mancl L, Aaron LA. Short- and long-term efficacy of brief cognitive-behavioral therapy for patients with chronic temporomandibular disorder pain: a randomized, controlled trial Pain. 2006;121(3):171-172.


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