Talking to Your Doctor About Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

You have your own health history. Talk with your dentist or doctor about your risk factors and experience with TMD. This will help you take an active role in your care.

Tips for Getting Information

Here are some tips that will make it simpler for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write your questions down ahead of time so you do not forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get. Make sure you understand what you hear. Ask to know more if you need to.
  • Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find out more. You have a right to know.

Some Questions to Ask

About TMD

  • How do I know if my symptoms are from TMD?
  • Can TMD be cured?

About Your Risk of Developing TMD

  • What are risk factors that might make me get TMD?
  • Is my bite normal?
  • Could any facial or dental problems make TMD worse?

About Treatment Options

  • What kinds of treatment can I use to ease my TMD?
  • Are there self-care steps I can use?
  • Are there medicines I can take to ease pain?
    • What types should I use?
    • How long should I use them?
    • Are they okay to take with the other medicines or supplements that I use?
  • Should I be using a mouth guard to help me stop grinding my teeth and clenching my jaw?
  • Should I talk with my dentist about fitting a mouth plate or night guard?
  • Do I need surgery?
  • When is surgery needed?
  • What research is there that shows whether surgery helps?
  • Are there any complementary or alternative treatments for TMD?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • How can I learn to handle stress in my life?
  • How can I break my jaw clenching habit?
  • Are there other things I can do to lower my stress?

About Your Outlook

  • Does TMD worsen, or can it be stopped with treatment?
  • What problems could I suffer if my TMD gets worse?
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References:

Temporomandibular disorders. American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.aaoms.org/docs/practice_resources/clinical_resources/tmd_disorders.pdf. Accessed July 29, 2019.
Temporomandibular disorders. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dyname.... 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:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated January 2019. Accessed July 29, 2019.
TMJ. Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed July 29, 2019.
TMJ (temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders). National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at: https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/Topics/TMJ/TMJDisorders.htm. Accessed July 29, 2019.
Last reviewed June 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 7/29/2019

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