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Other Treatments for Temporomandibular Disorders

To Ease Pain and Swelling

Using Heat and Cold

Heat helps blood flow. Warm soaks or heating pads can ease a muscle spasm. It can be used for 10 minutes at a time, 3 to 4 times a day.

Cold can help ease swelling and pain, and improve movement. An ice pack can be used for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, many times each day.

Corticosteroid Shots

Corticosteroid shots are rarely used for TMD. They may be used for people with severe TMD caused by inflammatory problems like rheumatoid or osteoarthritis. It can help ease swelling and pain in the joint.

The joint is injected with a solution of corticosteroid, such as:

  • Methylprednisolone
  • Triamcinolone

To Stop Tooth Grinding and Jaw Clenching

Splint, Bite Plate, Nightguard

Your doctor may order you a splint or bite plate that stops jaw clenching and teeth grinding. You might be told to wear it only at night, or you might wear it at times during the day when you are more likely to grind your teeth or clench your jaw. They will not get in the way of your bite.


Botox may help people who have pain from muscle tension. It is given into facial muscles when other treatments have not helped. It can weaken the muscles that cause jaw clenching.

It may need to be done more than 1 time. The safety of repeat treatments is not known.

To Improve Function

Physical therapy

Exercises may help to strengthen your jaw muscles.

Gentle jaw stretching and relaxing exercises may help the jaw move better.

When to Contact Your Doctor

Call your doctor if:

  • The treatment seems to be causing pain.
  • You notice any new symptoms after you use the treatment.

Temporomandibular disorders. American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons website. Available at: Accessed July 29, 2019.

Temporomandibular disorders. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated February 20, 2018. Accessed July 29, 2019.

Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) pain. ENThealth—American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: Updated January 2019. Accessed July 29, 2019.

TMJ. Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association website. Available at: Accessed July 29, 2019.

TMJ (temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders). National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at: Accessed July 29, 2019.

Last reviewed June 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD  Last Updated: 10/18/2019