TMJ Pain Relief

Instructions for Acute TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Pain Relief

  1. For the first 24-48 hours apply ice packs to the affected joint to reduce swelling.  After this time, use heat to increase circulation which will promote healing and reduce swelling.   Place a hot, moist towel on the side of the face which has the tension or pain.  Place the towel from the temple area to the jaw.  Place a heating pad over the hot, moist towel.  Hold until the skin is uncomfortably hot.  Then cool, rubbing the skin several times with an ice cube.  Immediately reapply hot, moist towel and heating pad in the same manner.  Repeat several times per day.  A microwave oven is useful for heating the towel.
  2. Take ibuprofen as needed to control pain and reduce inflammation. The dosage should be 800mg, taken with food, three times per day (after breakfast, lunch and dinner) for 6-7 days. To control inflammation, it is important to take a level dosage for this amount of time, even if the pain is gone.
  3. Eat a soft and/or liquid diet.
  4. Avoid caffeine. Limit sugar and white flour intake.  Eat a nutritious diet (whole grains, vegetables, fruit, etc.).
  5. Exercise regularly within your limits of physical ability. Do not clench while exercising.
  6. If there is pain in the joints, sleep on your back. Use 2 pillows under your knees, if necessary, to maintain position.
  7. Take time for yourself. Twenty minutes, two times per day is recommended.

These are guidelines.  You will have to use your judgment to find which are most effective for you. For more information, please call our dental office in Durham, North Carolina, at 919-682-5327 if you have any questions for our dentist, Dr. Alex Fleming, or other team members at our practice.


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  • Thursday 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Friday Closed


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