ZocdocAnswersIs there any way to make the pain caused by TMJ go away?

Question

Is there any way to make the pain caused by TMJ go away?

I mean other than surgery, what can I do? I have this pain in my right jaw and the dentist says TMJ but I don't know how to make it stop hurting. They said something about a bite guard but I can't afford it. Is surgery the only thing that will fix it?

Answer

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull, right in front of your ear. It frequently becomes inflamed, causing the temporomandibular joint pain syndrome, which is characterized by pain, especially with chewing or opening the mouth. Temporomandibular joint pain syndrome is essentially an overuse injury of the joint. As such in can be improved by resting the joint and by taking anti inflammatory joints like ibuprofen or naproxen. Additionally, in many cases, physical therapy and relaxation exercises are very effective. These are things that your primary care doctor, in addition to your dentist, can help you with. Therefore if you feel like you need a second opinion, you could go to see your primary care doctor about the issue. In severe cases of temporomandibular joint pain, especially when they are associated with misalignment of the teeth or grinding of the teeth, then a bite guard or dental braces may be needed. In the most severe cases, surgery on the joint or to realign the jaw may be needed. However, I would start by exploring the more simple measures like pain medications and physical therapy; talk with your dentist or your primary care doctor about these options.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.