Summary of Treatment for Temporomandibular Disorders (TMDs) (Text Alternative)

Chart for Summary of Treatments for Temporomandibular Disorders (TMDs)


Simplest treatments; try these treatments first.

  • Eating soft foods.
  • Applying heat or cold to face.
  • Jaw stretching and strengthening exercises.
  • Short-term over-the-counter NSAIDs.
  • Self-management.


Could be prescribed by doctor or dentist as a second step if simpler treatments do not help.

  • Behavioral health approaches (usually offered by a psychologist).
  • Physical therapy, including manual therapy (needs referral by doctor or dentist).
  • Prescription medications.
  • Intraoral appliances.
  • Complementary treatments.

Moderately Complex

Proceed with caution if these treatments are recommended. They involve going into the jaw joint using needles or other instruments.

  • Prolotherapy.
  • Arthrocentesis.
  • Arthroscopy.

Most Complex

Only consider these if doctor or dentist recommends as a last resort; ask for second opinion. Involves direct access and permanent changes to the jaw joint.

  • Surgery, including TMJ implants.

Botulinum toxin Type A injections and occlusal treatments are not listed in this table because:

  • Researchers do not have conclusive evidence that botulinum toxin Type A injections into the chewing muscles help with TMDs.
  • Occlusal treatments including placing crowns, grinding down teeth, and orthodontic treatments do not help TMDs and can make the problem worse.
Last Reviewed
January 2022