Since there are several causes for TMJ disorders, there are also many things that you can do to prevent TMJ pain.
It is recommended to start with home treatments first, because they are reversive and conservative. Agressive treatments still need more studies to demonstrate their efficency.
- Eat a soft food diet
- Use ice packs and heat pads
- Take actions to reduce stress and practice relaxation
- Do jaw exercises to improve jaw movement
- Avoid tough foods and chewing gum
- Avoid wide yawning
If the pain is not softened by using the previous mentioned treatments, some medications may give more ease. The medications have to be over the counter or prescribed by a doctor and will variate depending on your health history and personal condition. It’s relevant to note, there are no medications explicitly marked by FDA for TMJ disorders.
Some of the medications are:
- Over the counter anti-inflammatories and pain relievers (NSAIDs)
- Muscle relaxants to relive the jaw muscles
- Antidepressants to reduce stress
Sometimes, your doctor might suggest non-drug therapy to ease muscle and jaw movement.
Some of the possible therapies include:
- Physical Therapy: incorporates some essential jaw extending exercises that make the muscles stronger.
- Dental Splint: It’s a delicate yet firm device that is set over the teeth to prevent teeth grinding
- Training to improve posture and correct jaw alignment.
- Movement of the temporomandibular (TM) joint to free scar tissue that limits muscle motion and to help develop range of movement.
When any of the previous mentioned treatments isn’t enough, your doctor may consider intervene surgically, but it must be a last restort decision, since there isn’t any scientific proof that these interventions for TMD are effective and safe.
Surgical interventions include:
- Modified condylotomy: helpful when suffering from pain and jaw locking
- Open-joint surgery: To repair or replace the joint, it implies more risks
- TMJ arthroscopy: It has more limitations than open-join surgery but also fewer complications and risks.