Treatment options for temporomandibular joint disorder include self-care practices, pain medications, stabilization splints and Botox, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Irreversible treatments such as surgery and implants are available, but there is insufficient evidence to support their effectiveness as of 2015.
Most cases of TMJ do not worsen and are temporary, so self-care methods such as eating soft foods and applying an ice pack may be enough to relieve symptoms, as the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research recommends. Patients should also avoid straining the jaw through yawning, gum chewing and loud singing. A physical therapist can show patients gentle stretches and exercises to increase jaw mobility. Over-the-counter painkillers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often helpful in relieving discomfort, but patients may ask their doctor or dentist for a prescription medication if they experience more severe pain.
A bite guard or stabilization splint is a plastic piece that fits over the teeth, and it is one of the most common TMJ treatments, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Small doses of Botox may provide relief for chronic TMJ sufferers, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of Botox for this purpose. Surgical procedures and artificial implants are controversial, as long-term safety is not yet known.