Non-invasive TMJ Treatments

TMJ treatment options that do not involve medication include using a device that reduces the impact of clenching the jaw or grinding the teeth during sleep (bruxism). These devices, which are called splints, bite plates, or bite guards, are available over-the-counter at most pharmacies or can be custom-fitted by a dentist.

If a TMJ disorder is linked to excessive stress, tension, or anxiety, behavioral therapy with a counselor (e.g., licensed clinical social worker [LCSW], psychologist [e.g., Psy.D., Ph.D., Ed.D.) or attending a support group may be helpful.

Invasive TMJ Treatments

Invasive treatment for temporomandibular joint disorders usually is unnecessary. Patients should be cautious about invasive TMJ treatment. They should be sure to ask questions, get a second opinion, research all options, and try non-invasive treatments first.

Dental procedures, such as balancing the biting surfaces of the teeth, replacing fillings or crowns, and orthodontics (e.g., braces), are sometimes recommended for persistent cases of TMJ. However, research is lacking on the effectiveness of dental and orthodontic solutions for TMJ disorders.

Arthrocentesis, which involves using a syringe to cleanse the joint area of debris, is another invasive method sometimes used in the treatment of TMJ. At this time, more research is needed regarding arthrocentesis and temporomandibular joint disorders.

In severe cases, joint replacement surgery may be suggested. However, evidence concerning the long-term effectiveness of joint replacement surgery of the jaw is not available at this time.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 18 Aug 2009

Last Modified: 06 Oct 2015