In general, TMJ disorders are thought to have a 'multifactorial' cause, meaning that there are usually a number of factors contributing to the cause. These factors can be grouped into two types: problems linked to the muscles working the joint, and problems inside the joint itself. The muscle problems are the most common type, particularly for younger people.

Basic Treatments for TMD include:

Apply moist heat or cold packs. Apply an ice pack or a warm towel to the side of your face and temple area for about 10 minutes. Perform this routine a few times each day.

Eat soft foods. Eat soft foods such as yogurt, mashed potatoes, soup, scrambled eggs, fish, cooked fruits and vegetables. In addition, cut foods into small pieces to decrease the amount of chewing required. Avoid hard and crunchy foods (like hard rolls, raw carrots), chewy foods (like caramels and taffy) and thick and large foods that require your mouth to open wide to fit.

Take medications. To relieve muscle pain and swelling, try nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Muscle relaxants, especially for people who grind or clench their teeth, can help relax tight jaw muscles. Anti-anxiety medications can help relieve stress that is sometimes thought to aggravate TMD.

Wear a splint or night guard. Splints and night guards are plastic mouthpieces that fit over the upper and lower teeth. They prevent the upper and lower teeth from coming together, lessening the effects of clenching or grinding the teeth.
Undergo corrective dental treatments. Corrective treatments include Orthodontic treatment to correct a bite problem or crowns and bridges to replace missing teeth and balance the biting surfaces of your teeth.
Avoid extreme jaw movements. Keep yawning and chewing (especially gum or ice) to a minimum and avoid extreme jaw movements such as yelling or singing.

Don't rest your chin on your hand or hold the telephone between your shoulder and ear. Practice good posture to reduce neck and facial pain.

Keep your teeth slightly apart as often as you can to relieve pressure on the jaw. To control clenching or grinding during the day, place your tongue between your teeth.

Learning relaxation techniques to help control muscle tension in the jaw. Ask us about the need for physical therapy or massage. Consider stress reduction therapy, including biofeedback.