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Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome (cont.)

Follow-up for TMJ

Follow your doctor's specific instructions for taking any medication prescribed and for home care with compresses or gentle jaw exercise.

  • You may be instructed to follow up with a specialist such as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, a general dentist, or a pain-specialist physician. Maxillofacial surgery may be necessary when there is poor alignment of the jawbone (mandible) with the skull bone.
  • Dentists are often the first to diagnose TMJ syndrome. They are familiar with conservative treatments. Specially trained facial pain experts can be helpful in diagnosing and treating TMJ syndrome.

Is There a Way to Prevent TMJ Syndrome?

  • If you tend to have occasional bouts of jaw pain, avoid chewing gum or biting on objects, such as pens or fingernails. Avoid eating hard or chewy food. When you yawn, support your lower jaw with your hand.
  • Avoid large bites while eating.
  • Regularly massage your jaw, cheeks and temple muscles.
  • If you feel spasms, apply moist heat.
  • Maintain good sleep posture with neck support.
  • Avoid cradling the phone between your shoulder and neck.
  • See your dentist if you grind your teeth at night or find yourself clenching your jaw. The dentist can make a splint for you.

What Is the Prognosis of TMJ Syndrome?

Most people do well with conservative therapy, such as resting the jaw or using a mouth splint. The success of treatment depends on how severe the symptoms are and how well you comply with treatment.

Only about 1% of those with TMJ syndrome require joint replacement surgery.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/18/2017

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome »

TMJ, or temporal mandibular joint, is the synovial joint that connects the jaw to the skull.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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