What Are the Different Ways to Manage Temporomandibular Joint Disorders?

What Are the Different Ways to Manage Temporomandibular Joint Disorders?

December 1, 2022

Talking, chewing, laughing, smiling, and yawning are all facial movements that you make each day with little to no thought. These facial movements are made possible with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). But the story changes when the TMJ is not functioning at its best.

You can be in debilitating pain that you cannot function as normally. Hence the need to seek TMJ treatment near you. TMJ pain can be resolved after a few days and, in some cases, months. Some don’t even need treatment, and the pain dissipates after a few days. At the same time, others might experience TMJ pain for years and need effective ways to manage the disorder.

But Before we check out the effective ways to manage the disease, let’s understand a thing or two about the temporomandibular joint disorder.

Understanding TMD

The temporomandibular joint is a tiny joint located close to the ears and connects the jaw to the skull. It is responsible for facial movements such as moving the jaw side to side and up and down. When the temporomandibular joint is affected by trauma or disease, you will have difficulty using the jaw, which might lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).

TMD can be caused by several factors, such as injury and inflammation. The cause of the disorder will determine the method of treatment. That’s why there are some people whose symptoms might subside on their own, and others will need treatment.

How’s TMD Treated?

Once you experience some of the TMD symptoms, such as clicking sounds or feeling pain when moving the jaw, you can visit our dentist in Kearney, NE, for a checkup. Our dentist will begin the diagnosis by:

  • Observing your jaw’s range of motion
  • Listening to and feeling your jaw when you close and open your mouth
  • Pressing the jaw to find areas of discomfort

When our dentist suspects that you have TMD, you may need to take dental x-rays, CT scans, and an MRI to reveal issues with the teeth, jaw, bones involved, and surrounding tissue.

After the diagnosis, our dentist can be certain that you suffer from TMD, and the next move will be to create a treatment plan. Our dentist may recommend the following:


If the symptoms aren’t severe, non-drug therapies might work; some of these therapies are:

  • Mouth guards or oral splints. These oral appliances are inserted over their teeth to help manage jaw pain
  • Physical therapy. Our dentist may suggest that you work with a physiotherapist who will help you with the jaw movement exercises. Also, the physiotherapist may incorporate ultrasound and other techniques to help manage the pain
  • Counseling. You will need to know some of the factors that lead to or exacerbate the pain so that you may steer clear of them
  • Use a hot or cold compress. Ice is effective when dealing with swelling and pain. Heat increases blood flow and relaxes the jaw muscles. You can use the hot or cold compress for about 15 minutes at a time
  • Avoid certain foods. Some foods will force you to open your mouth forcefully, or you might need to open your mouth wide, which can lead to more pain.Other foods are crunchy and hard, which means that you will have to use force when chewing them.


Our dentist can also decide to add some drugs into the mix to help deal with the pain. Some of the medications that you might need are:

  • Muscle relaxants. These drugs are used for a few days or even several weeks to help relieve TMJ pain that is caused by muscle spasms.
  • Pain relievers and anti-inflammatories. Our dentist will prescribe pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication that you can use for a limited time
  • Tricyclic antidepressants. These medications are used mostly for patients with depression. However, our dentist will prescribe the medication in lower doses since they are effective in dealing with pain

Surgical Procedures

When the other methods aren’t efficient, our dentist may suggest that you undergo surgical procedures such as:

  • Arthrocentesis. This minimally invasive procedure is performed to remove debris and anti-inflammatory byproducts from the TMJ.
  • Injections. At times, corticosteroid injections may be helpful. Our dentist may use botulinum toxin Type A into the jaw muscles to relieve pain

Other surgical procedures such as TMJ arthroscopy, open-joint surgery, and modified condylotomy, can be performed to deal with TMD.

Learn more about TMJ/TMD disorder by contacting our dentist at Platte Valley Dental Clinic today.

Book an Appointment