Non Surgical TMJ Treatment Options

Non Surgical TMJ Treatment

If you’ve ever had jaw ache before, chances are you found it very uncomfortable. If you were lucky, after a day or so the pain and discomfort likely subsided, and you were free to go about your day as usual. 

For a large percentage of the population however, jaw ache and issues affecting the jaw are especially common, thanks largely to a condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder, or sometimes simply abbreviated to TMD(temporomandibular disorders), or TMJ. 

The temporomandibular joint is one which connects your lower jaw to your skull. It acts like a hinge so you can open, close, and move your mouth. TMJ/TMD is a condition affecting the joint causing pain and discomfort in the face, head, neck, shoulders, and mouth. 

In one study conducted at the School of Dentistry, James Cook University, a selection of dentistry students were examined to determine roughly how much of the general population in Australia could suffer with TMJ. The study found that 77.2% of students suffered with TMD symptoms. The study also found that women were most likely to experience TMJ symptoms, with 83% of women examined suffering with symptoms, compared with 66.7% of males. 

If you're wondering how to cure TMJ permanently, or are simply looking to find a TMJ specialist near me, here are some non-surgical TMJ treatments options that can provide long-lasting relief and may even offer a permanent cure for your TMJ symptoms and discomfort.


Self-care measures

If you suffer with TMJ, if your case is mild there are certain TMJ exercises and measures you can implement yourself that are simple and non-invasive, to treat the symptoms.


I. Jaw exercises and stretches 

In terms of TMJ treatment exercises, simple jaw exercises and stretches can work wonders for not only easing the symptoms of TMJ, but also for preventing it from occurring by helping to relax and strengthen the jaw muscle.

Simple jaw exercises where you gently open, close, and rotate your jaw muscles in a specific way have been found to be ideal for people suffering with TMJ. 


II. Posture improvement 

Believe it or not, but simply sitting up straight, pulling back your shoulders, and holding your head and neck up straight can also work very well as a simple nonsurgical treatments.


III. Stress management 

Read blogs and articles with titles such as ‘how I cured my TMJ naturally’ and you’ll see that stress management is one of the most effective tips. 

Stress can cause bruxism which causes a person to clench their jaw and grind their teeth. This can put extra wear and tear on the TMJ, resulting in TMD. 

If you are able to manage your stress to a certain degree, and relax a little, this could ease your symptoms. Sometimes the best treatment for TMJ may be nothing, so make sure you relax. 



Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It is based on the idea that negative patterns of thinking can contribute to negative emotions and behaviors, and that changing these thought patterns can lead to improvements in mood and behavior. CBT is a goal-oriented, short-term therapy that aims to identify and challenge negative thoughts, replace them with positive ones, and teach coping skills to manage difficult emotions and situations. CBT has been found to be effective for a range of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

CBT can help adjust the way people perceive pain, while also helping to modify thoughts and behaviours that could exasperate TMD. 

If stress is causing bruxism, which is a condition characterized by clenching or grinding of the teeth, and contributing to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or temporomandibular disorders (TMD), CBT could prove to be very effective in reducing symptoms and improving overall quality of life. This treatment involves talking through one's thoughts and behaviors and learning new coping mechanisms to manage stress, in addition to addressing the physical symptoms associated with bruxism and TMJ/TMD.


V. Muscle relaxants 

Botox for TMJ is another very effective treatment. 

Botox injections are a popular treatment option for individuals suffering from temporomandibular joint (TMD) disorders. These injections work by relaxing the muscles in the jaw, face, and neck, helping to alleviate the discomfort and pain caused by the condition. The injections are typically administered by a dental professional and are a minimally invasive way to provide relief for TMD symptoms. In addition to Botox injections, a combination of other treatments, such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, and lifestyle changes, may also be recommended to manage TMD and prevent its recurrence.


Physical therapy for TMJ

In more advanced cases of TMD/TMJ, physical therapy for TMJ may be the best non-surgical tmj therapy option. Some examples of non-surgical treatment options through physical therapy for TMJ include:


    • Targeted exercises to improve muscle strength and flexibility 

Muscles in the face, jaw, and neck are muscles like anywhere else on the body. To build them up and strengthen them you must first exercise them. 

Targeted exercises such as ‘goldfish exercises’ where you partially open and close your mouth can really help over the long haul. 


    • Manual therapy to remove muscle tension

Manual therapy carried out in conjunction with a physical therapist is also a very effective way for people to ease muscle tension caused by TMJ, or even remove it entirely. This type of therapy involves the manual manipulation and release of the muscles, as well as other techniques that are designed to improve flexibility, increase circulation, and help treat the underlying causes of muscle tension in the jaw, face, and neck areas. Through this therapy, people can experience significant relief from the symptoms of TMJ and enjoy an improved quality of life.


    • Ultrasound and heat therapy 

Finally, your dentist may decide that ultrasound and/or heat therapy to increase blood flow and promote healing and recovery may be the best option for treating TMD/TMJ. These treatments can be used in combination with surgical and therapy interventions, to help alleviate pain, discomfort, and improve joint function.

These treatments not only reduce inflammation, but as they boost circulation more oxygen and nutrients can be delivered to cells in the tissues in and around the TMJ, thereby speeding up the recovery process and easing pain caused by inflammation.


Orthodontic devices

As great as TMJ exercises can be, if you want non-surgical TMJ treatment for TMJ that is not responding well to regular exercises, your dentist may decide that orthodontic devices are the way to go. 


- Mouthguards or dental splints 

Though very similar to one another, mouthguards and dental splints are slightly different. 

A mouthguard is designed to protect the teeth, whereas a dental splint is designed to prevent teeth grinding. Either way, in terms of TMJ treatments, both are very effective.


- Custom-made orthodontic devices 

Custom-made orthodontic devices are specialized dental appliances that are designed to fit the unique shape and structure of an individual's mouth. These devices are typically used to treat a variety of oral health conditions, including temporomandibular joint disorders and bruxism (teeth grinding). They work by realigning the jaw and positioning the teeth in a more natural, healthy position, which can help to reduce the amount of stress and strain on the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. Some common types of custom-made orthodontic devices include splints, mouthguards, and bite plates. Sometimes your dentist may decide that custom-made orthodontic devices to align and straighten the jaw are the way to go.



As you can see, non-surgical TMJ treatment options for the management of TMD pain and symptoms can be very effective, if implemented correctly. 

Before you try any of the above however, first ensure you speak to your dentist and have them perform a thorough examination. They will be able to diagnose TMJ and prescribe the necessary treatments and/or medications if required. 


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