When you see your primary care physician or an ENT specialist about your TMJ pain, they will start with a detailed medical history and physical, looking to see how your teeth come together when you bite down. They will also examine how the joints and muscles around your jaw function. Depending on your case, your doctor may recommend trying simple, self-remedies to help relieve TMJ pain such as:
- Resting your muscles and joints by eating soft foods
- Not chewing gum
- Not clenching or tensing your jaw
- Relaxing your muscles with moist heat
In cases of joint injury, your doctor may recommend applying an ice pack soon after the injury to reduce swelling. Relaxation techniques and stress reduction, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, or other medications may also offer relief.
Other treatments for advanced cases may include an occlusal splint, or mouth guard, to prevent wear and tear on the joint, improving the alignment of the upper and lower teeth, and surgery. Your ENT specialist may also suggest additional consultation with your dentist and oral surgeon to help manage your TMJ pain.