Joint Rest – Full recovery will not occur without joint rest. While it is difficult to totally limit the activity of the jaw, there are simple measures than can be performed. Maintain a liquid to very soft diet, avoiding foods chewier than pasta. In addition, all gum chewing should be eliminated. Prevent wide, uncontrolled opening of the jaw. Yawning, coughing and laughing often are accompanied by rapid, wide and uncontrolled opening of the jaw. This will aggravate your temporomandibular joint discomfort. This type of movement can be prevented by placing your fist under the chin and holding the lower jaw in place.
Heat Therapy – Moist heat (a face towel soaked in hot, but not scalding water or a hot water bottle) applied to the right and left sides of the jaw in front of the ear will have a soothing and relaxing affect on the muscles. This will help relieve any pain that you have.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medication (Ibuprofen, Naprosyn) – Ibuprofen 800 milligrams every eight hours or Naprosyn 275 milligrams every six to eight hours.
Muscle Relaxant Pills (Robaxin or Flexeril) – Take as prescribed
Midline Opening Exercises – These exercises are used to re-train the muscles and should be done 2-3 times a day for a 3-5 minute period. Draw a line down the middle of your upper and lower lips with an erasable marker; then guide the jaw in opening and closing in the midline on a hinge axis as was explained in the office.
Night Guard – A night guard, a hard plastic wafer that fits on your upper teeth, can be fabricated by your dentist to help relieve early morning jaw symptoms. The night guard should be worn every night and placed in water during the day.
Pain Journal – For you first month of treatment, please keep a notebook to record events surrounding changes in your symptoms. Food, medicines, activities, etc. that make your pain better or worse may provide important clues to the causes of (and potential remedies for) your symptoms.
Please be patient – DO NOT EXPECT IMMEDIATE, OVERNIGHT RELIEF. IF THE ABOVE REGIME IS CLOSELY FOLLOWED, YOU WILL HAVE SLOW BUT DEFINITE IMPROVEMENT IN YOUR SYMPTOMS.