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TMD Self-Help Recommendations
Self-treatments include the following:
- Minimize wide opening and soften your diet. Avoid hard, chewy foods, especially foods that unnecessarily tax your jaws, such as gum, jerky, etc.
- Apply moist heat with a warm wet washcloth, wet heating pad, or hot water bottle. Ice or packaged frozen food wrapped in a washcloth may also be applied to the painful area. Use whichever (hot or cold) provides the greatest relief.
- Take an over the counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve).
- The adult ibuprofen dose is two to four tablets (200 mg each) three times a day, and the adult Aleve dose is two tablets (220 mg each) twice a day.
- Children less than 12 years old can take Pediprofen. A lower ibuprofen adult dose of one to two tablets two to three times a day may also be taken.
- Stop taking these medications if you notice any stomach problems such as heartburn, upset stomach, diarrhea, or bloody/dark stools.
- Patients who are allergic to an anti-inflammatory medication, including aspirin, should not take the aforementioned medications. In such instances, substitute Tylenol (acetaminophen) one to two tablets two to four times a day.
I recommend seeking immediate help for the following circumstances:
- Worsening symptoms, increasing pain, locking, trismus, etc.
- The inability to open your mouth all the way
- Frequent open or closed jaw locking
- Obvious facial swelling or a facial asymmetry
- Unmanageable pain
- A change in the way your teeth fit together
- Persistent symptoms
I recommend observing the following problems and seeking care if they persist:
- Jaw clicking and popping without pain or dysfunction, i.e. trismus, locking, or dietary limitations
- New onset of tolerable pain