Non-Surgical TMJ Disorder Treatment Options

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can manifest a unique variety of symptoms for each patient.  Many times, surgery is not required to manage temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Dr. Ron Caloss and our team approach every case from a holistic standpoint. We explore non-surgical treatments before turning to surgical TMJ repair or reconstruction to ensure the best chance of success and minimal complications.

Non-surgical TMJ disorder treatment options include:

1. Occlusal Guards (Mouthguards, Bite Splints, and Nightguards)

One of the most effective and non-invasive treatments for TMJ disorder is wearing an occlusal guard or mouthguard. Do you ever wake up with a tired, sore feeling in your jaws? Do you suffer from frequent migraines or tension headaches? If so, you may grind and clench your teeth. Clenching and grinding, also known as bruxism, can cause significant pain and discomfort. A mouthguard, bite splint, and nightguard keeps your upper and lower teeth from making contact to ease muscle tension around the joint. Often, patients with TMJ disorder clench their teeth together, which places pressure on the TMJ.

You may grind and clench your teeth if you notice the following signs and symptoms: 

  • Indentations on the side of the tongue 
  • Chronic tension headaches and migraines 
  • Excessive wear on the enamel, exposing the inner layers of the tooth 
  • Extremely worn down, flattened, cracked, or chipped teeth 
  • A tired, tight, or sore feeling in the jaw muscles 
  • Chronic facial pain 
  • Pain when chewing 

Occlusal guards are custom-fit to your mouth for optimal comfort. If you find yourself clenching and grinding your teeth (bruxism) during the daytime, Dr. Caloss may recommend wearing a discrete bite splint during the day. If you grind your teeth while asleep, a nightguard may be sufficient to reduce TMJ disorder symptoms.

Bruxism is often associated with TMJ disorder, but it also causes long-term dental harm. Constantly grinding your teeth eventually will cause irreparable damage and require you to get expensive teeth replacements. An occlusal guard may relieve TMJ symptoms while ensuring the longevity and stability of your teeth.

2. Stress Management

Many patients and doctors are too quick to discount the effect one’s mind has on the body. Stress is the most significant contributor to disease and health problems across the board and is often an underlying cause of bruxism. Stress management is a vital part of Dr. Caloss’ holistic and comprehensive approach to treatment for TMJ disorder.

Many patients do not even realize how much stress they carry in daily life. In many cases, using an occlusal guard can limit further damage to your teeth and help ease facial muscle tension. But stress management is essential in treating the underlying cause of TMJ disorder and achieving long-term alleviation. Proven stress management methods include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), practicing meditation and mindfulness, and yoga.

3. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy helps stretch and strengthen muscles around your jaw to ease the tension caused by TMJ disorder. Moisture therapy and heat therapy often have positive results for patients experiencing jaw muscle spasms and facial pressure. 

4. Trigger Point Injections and Botox

Trigger point injections are a non-surgical treatment for TMJ disorder that may relieve pain and reduce facial muscle spasms. For many patients, trigger point injections help limit damage to healthy teeth, reduce TMJ disorder symptoms, and prevent bruxism. Among other injectables, Botox (botulinum toxin type A) may ease hyperactive muscles around the jaw and TMJ.

5. Prescription Medications

In keeping with his holistic approach to dentistry, Dr. Caloss may recommend medicinal treatment options before surgical methods of TMJ disorder treatment. Dr. Caloss may recommend medications combined with other therapies, such as stress management and physical therapy. Prescription and anti-inflammatory medications can help relieve pain and stiffness in your jaw. In some cases, Dr. Caloss may recommend a low dose of tricyclic antidepressants or muscle relaxants to alleviate the muscle spasms and bruxism causing your TMJ disorder.   


Call our office at Jackson Office Phone Number 601-841-3223 to schedule your consultation and determine the best non-surgical TMJ disorder treatment methods to reduce your jaw pain and discomfort.