Introduction

Temporomandibular disorder is a condition affecting the movement of the jaw. It's not usually serious and generally gets better on its own.

Check if you have TMD

Signs of TMD include:

  • pain around your jaw, ear and temple
  • clicking, popping or grinding noises when you move your jaw
  • a headache around your temples
  • difficulty opening your mouth fully
  • your jaw locking when you open your mouth

The pain may be worse when chewing and when you feel stressed.

TMD can also stop you getting a good night's sleep.

How to ease TMD yourself

There are some simple things you can do to try to reduce your jaw pain.

Do:

  • eat soft food, like pasta, omlettes and soup
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • hold ice packs or heat packs to the jaw, whichever feels better
  • massage the painful jaw muscles
  • try to find ways to relax

Don't:

  • chew gum or pen tops
  • bite food with your front teeth
  • yawn too wide
  • bite your nails
  • clench your teeth - apart from when eating, your teeth should be apart
  • rest your chin on your hand

How to make your own ice packs and heat packs

Try either:

  • a pack of frozen peas, wrapped in a tea towel, for no more than 5 minutes at a time, or
  • a hot water bottle, wrapped in a tea towel, twice a day for 15 to 20 minutes

See your GP if:

  • you're unable to eat or drink
  • the pain is affecting your life
  • the pain is affecting your sleep
  • the pain and discomfort keep coming back

Treatment from a GP

Your GP may suggest:

  • stronger painkillers
  • relaxation techniques to reduce stress
  • ways to improve your sleep

Your GP might suggest you see:

  • a dentist, if teeth grinding might be an issue
  • a psychologist, if stress and anxiety are making your pain worse

If these treatments don't help, you may be referred to a specialist in joint problems to discuss other options, such as painkilling injections or surgery.

Causes of TMD

TMD can be caused by:

  • teeth grinding
  • wear and tear of the joint
  • a blow to the head or face
  • stress
  • an uneven bite

Call NHS Direct Wales

If you can't speak to your GP or don't know what to do next call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 or 111 Wales if available in your area.

 

^^ Back to top


The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS Choices.
Last Updated: 01/05/2018 13:59:10