TMJ Self-Help Tips

  1. Resting muscles and joints will allow healing .

  2. Stick with a soft diet.

  3. Do not chew gum, EVER!

  4. Relax face muscles. Concentrate on: “Lips together, teeth apart. From these words do not depart.”

  5. Avoid clenching.

  6. When yawning, limit the opening against your fist to protect the joint and prevent open locking.

  7. Moist heat for 20 minutes promotes healing and muscle relaxation.

  8. Apply ice for severe pain and new injuries (within 72 hours).

  9. Alternate heat and ice – 5 minutes heat, 5 minutes ice. Repeat 4 to 5 times for pain relief.

  10. Maintain good posture. Avoid forward head posture.

  11. If possible, sleep on your side, but avoid pressure against your jaw.

  12. Open and close jaw against finger pressure several times per day.

  13. Exercise 20-30 minutes at least 3 times per week.

  14. Use acupressure on painful areas – massage the area between your thumb and forefinger.

  15. Use over-the-counter medications only as necessary – 2 aspirins or 2-3 ibuprofen 4 times a day.

  16. Reduce stress with yoga and/or medication.

  17. Follow good nutritional guidelines.

  18. Get a massage to help promote healing and relaxation.

  19. If you are not wearing a splint or orthotic appliance, a football mouthguard may provide temporary relief in a crisis.

  20. Avoid long dental appointments if possible (over 30 minutes). It can cause muscle cramping.

  21. Avoid general anesthesia if possible. Joint damage can occur if mouth is opened too far.

  22. Do not cradle the telephone. It can irritate jaw and neck muscles.