Treatment Options For That Painful Jaw Joint

The occasional pain at the back of your jaw has now become a regular occurrence whenever you eat. Your dentist has diagnosed a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, which is due to changes in the bones and muscles in your jaw joint. The cause of these changes is unknown, and sometimes the condition improves by itself and the pain goes away. But if the pain persists and becomes worse, here are the various treatment options that your dentist has to relieve the discomfort.

Non-Invasive Options

Your dentist will have you try a number of non-invasive treatments first. These are easy to administer, can be stopped at any time, and create no permanent changes in your teeth or jaw bones.

Behavior and Lifestyle Changes

There are a few ways to reduce the stress on your jaw joint to allow it to heal naturally. You may need to maintain these lifestyle changes indefinitely to prevent the TMJ from getting worse. The changes can include

  • avoiding hard foods and introducing more soft foods into your diet.
  • using ice packs on the jaw when inflammation and pain occurs.
  • minimizing persistent jaw movements such as gum chewing.
  • learning techniques for stress management to reduce jaw clenching and the grinding of your teeth.

Anti-inflammatory and Pain Medications

Short term use of these medications while your jaw is healing will make eating more comfortable. Long-term use of these drugs can cause side effects, such as stomach and kidney damage. Your doctor will monitor your pain medication usage to prevent any unwanted side effects.

Oral Splints

Also called a bite guard, these are worn in the mouth and over the teeth to minimize jaw movement, especially while sleeping. These are also used for a short time as they can alter your bite and cause teeth alignment problems.

Surgery and Dental Reconstruction

These invasive techniques permanently alter your jaw or teeth to relieve the pain from the TMJ. They do not cure TMJ, but focus on improving your bite, relieving pain, and making it more comfortable for you to eat again.


These are applied to the teeth to change their position and your bite. The change reduces stress on the jaw joint and reduces the pain when you move your jaw.

Crowns and Bridges

These are also used to close the gaps between teeth and change your bite to be more balanced on both sides of your jaw.

Surgical Reconstruction

Surgery can be done to reconstruct a temporomandibular joint that has been damaged by a bone disease or arthritis. This allows the jaw to move freely without creating friction in the joint, which causes pain and inflammation.