Conservative TMJ Therapies

Conservative Therapy Overview
Conservative treatment is general term to describe therapies that do not make permanent non-reversible changes to the patient's teeth, jaw, joint, or tissues. Especially for TMJ-Disorder, conservative jaw therapy should be exhausted before proceeding to a non-conservative, irreversible treatment like bite modification or surgery. All CMR products provide conservative therapy, including for pain relief and stretching.

Conservative therapy has been shown to be effective in 80% or more cases of TMJD, and can be used by other patients to treat painful or dysfunctional jaw tissues and joints. Please see our TMJD page for more detailed information.


Over the counter pain and anti-inflammation medications (Tylenol - acetomenophen, Advil - Ibuprofen, Aleve - naproxen, aspirin, etc.)
Prescription medications

Heat/Cold Therapy
Moist Heat - Moist heat from a heat pack, gel pack, or hot water bottle wrapped in a moist towel, can help reduce pain and relax muscles.
Cold - Cold therapy from ice packs, gel packs, or a cooler system can help reduce pain and swelling. Do not apply ice for more than 30min.

Behavioral Modification
  • Avoid clenching or grinding your teeth.
  • Avoid chewing gum, objects or your lip.
  • Maintain good posture in your back.
  • Maintain good jaw posture - jaw muscles relaxed with teeth slightly apart and your tongue resting against the roof of your mouth behind your upper teeth.
  • A soft diet of mushy or blended foods can allow your jaw tissues to rest and heal.
  • Avoid tough, sticky and chewy foods, like steak, taffy, apples, nuts, corn, larger sandwiches, bagels.
  • Avoid yawning too wide--push against your chin while yawning to help.
  • Avoid cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder.
  • Avoid long dental procedures, take breaks to relax the jaw.

Rehabilitation exercises 
  • Professional care by a Physical or Occupational Therapist
  • Jaw Exercises
  • Neck Exercises
  • Tongue-lip exercises
  • Back Exercises
  • Posture Exercises
  • Joint stretching products

Psychological Therapies
  • Relaxation techniques - guided visualization, slow breathing, etc.
  • Chronic pain and stress induced conditions can often be improved with mental health therapy

  • To relax the jaw joint
  • To treat clenching, grinding and bruxism
  • Conservative therapy oral splints should not cause permanent changes in the bite or increase pain.
  • Inconclusive research has been performed on the long-term effectiveness of splint therapy.
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