The cause of TMJ disorder can be difficult to elicit. It can be due to various underlying factors such as osteoarthritis of the joint, traumatic injury, habit of teeth grinding, jaw clenching, habit of munching on hard food such as peanuts, stress and chewing gum. An abnormal dental bite can also contribute to TMJ disorders.
- Pain killers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as mefenamic acid, diclofenac etc. However these painkillers should be taken with advice given by your doctor. Sometimes stronger painkillers are needed.
- Muscle relaxants to help relax the jaw muscles which are often tensed up due to pain.
- Sedatives may be needed for a short period of time
- Oral splints especially those with nightime teeth grinding
- Physiotherapy with heat or ice and even ultrasound can help ease the inflammation and pain
- Surgical procedures are rarely needed but may be considered in some patients eg joint injection
Home care advice
Patients are advised to take soft diet or to cut up their foods into small pieces to reduce chewing; which can aggravate the acute TMJ problem.
Applying heat or ice to the side of the face may help with the pain
Jaw exercises aimed at relaxing the jaw muscles and yet strengthen them at the same time