TMJ Homecare

Soft Diet

Yes: Pasta, potatoes, Yogurt, tofu, hamburger
No: Steak, bread, GUM CHEWING, bagels, any hard chewy foods

Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil or generic)

400-800mg every 6 hours for 1 week, whether you feel you need it or not.

No caffeine

Coffee, Expresso, sodas, chocolate, etc.

Relax your jaw and wear your night guard as prescribed

Teeth apart, jaw hanging down.  You can also place your tongue between your teeth.


You can place an ice cube directly in front of the ears, right where the jaw hurts to numb the pain and decrease inflammation.  DO NOT KEEP THE ICE CUBE ON YOUR SKIN FOR MORE THAN 2-3 MINUTES!  It can burn you.  Let the area recover for at least 30 minutes before re-applying.

Warm compresses

Hot tap water on a washcloth, 20 minutes, three times per day.  More if it makes you feel better.  Place the cloth in front of both ears and under the chin.

Passive stretching (To be done as a preventive exercise)

Using the strength of your fingers trying to maintain or increase the range of opening.  You should do this 3 times per day, especially upon waking.  DON’T HURT YOURSELF DOING IT!  If it hurts don’t stretch that far.

Strengthening exercises (To be done as a preventive exercise)

Fist under chin opening with the resistance against the fist.  Do this 2-3 times per day and don’t hurt yourself.

TMJ syndrome is a very difficult ailment to treat.  These directions are meant to treat acute TMJ symptoms, meaning things to do to make your jaw feel better if it is hurting.  You can also use these tips to avoid making it hurt as well, especially the passive stretching and strengthening exercises.  Do not overwork your chewing muscles and do the preventive exercises daily.  WEAR YOUR NIGHT GUARD!  Try to avoid stress and relax your jaw.  Stress exacerbates the grinding problem exponentially.  Your teeth are 2-3mm apart in a relaxed position.  Avoid keeping your teeth together and clenching.  If you wake up with tension headaches, like your face just ran a marathon, or there is visible damage to your teeth from grinding them together, you are in need of a TMJ night guard.  You are definitely in need of a night guard just because you are reading this.  There are also some medications such as muscle relaxants that can help break the pain cycle.  If these tips do not help, email  and schedule a TMJ exam with the doctor.

The main objective of TMJ treatment and prevention is two-fold:

  1. Increase or maintain the range of motion.
  2. Do it in a pain-free way.

All of these suggestions either avoid causing an inflammatory buildup in the joint or help get rid of the inflammation that is already there.  This is a difficult ailment to treat and much easier to prevent.  The joint and cartilage within the joint have muscle attachments so when your muscles are tense; they pull the joint out of wack.   That is why it is important to have a tension suppression style night guard.  Email the office to schedule a fitting today .