TMJ: What Treatments Work?

22 August 2016
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


When you have Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ), you have to deal with pain and misunderstanding. Most people do not understand the ailment and may be less than empathetic as a result. Although only education will help the latter, the physical issues can be addressed. You don't have to simply live with TMJ. There are a variety of treatments available.

TMJ Symptoms

You may have TMJ, a problem with the hinge between your upper and lower jaw, if your jaw clicks when you open your mouth and you are prone to severe headaches. Your jaw may actually get stuck while you are talking or eating, and it may frequently be tender. If you notice any change in the may your jaw works, you need to seek medical help.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Your doctor may prescribe simple remedies such as using ice packs and exercises to relax your jaw muscles. They may also have you take OTC pain relief; although, on occasion, they will prescribe some stronger medications. Stabilization splints are the most common aid used. These are simply guards made of plastic that go either on the top or bottom of the teeth. Some doctors also use botox to try and ease the pain of TMJ.


In extreme circumstances, surgery to replace the joint is necessary. This procedure will be done by an oral maxillofacial surgeon from a clinic like Central PA Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons LLC, and this operation should allow your jaw to function properly again. The surgeon will replace the current ball and socket joints with plastic and metal parts. Remember that this procedure is major surgery and will require general anesthesia and a few days in the hospital. Full recovery will take approximately four to six weeks. 

Patients who expect this operation to relieve their pain may be disappointed. The surgery only replaces bone and cannot help with nerve and muscle damage. Your jaw should work properly again, but pain issues may linger, requiring ongoing treatment. TMJ is often a lifelong struggle but one that can be helped by the proper treatment.

If you have serious TMJ, consult with an oral surgeon so you can discover all your options. Once your jaw has deteriorated to a certain degree, only surgery will help you get full use of it back. TMJ may result from a variety of causes, including auto injury. If you have recently suffered an injury that has led to the symptoms described above, consult with your physician. You do not have to suffer without help.