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Temporomandibular Disorder


Temporomandibular disorder is a condition that causes pain in your jaw. The disorder affects the joint between your temporal bone and your mandible (jawbone). The muscles and nerves around the joint are also affected.



Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Soft foods:

Your healthcare provider may suggest that you eat only soft foods for several days. A dietitian may work with you to find foods that are easier to bite, chew, or swallow. Examples are soup, applesauce, cottage cheese, pudding, yogurt, and soft fruits.


  • Antibiotic medicine: These are used to prevent or treat an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
  • Botulinum toxin: This may be injected into the muscles of your jaw to decrease your pain.
  • Steroid medicine: These may be injected into the joint to decrease pain and swelling.
  • Muscle relaxers help decrease pain and muscle spasms.


  • X-rays: You may need to have x-rays of your skull, jaw, or teeth.
  • Arthrogram: This is an x-ray that uses contrast dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
  • MRI: This scan uses powerful magnets and a computer to take pictures of your jaw. You may be given contrast dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
  • Bone scan: This is a test done to look at the bones in your body. The bone scan shows areas where your bone is diseased or damaged. You will get a radioactive liquid, called a tracer, through a vein in your arm. The tracer collects in your bones. Pictures will then be taken to look for problems. Examples of bone problems include fractures (breaks) and infection.


  • Jaw supporting devices: Splints may be used to support your jaw or keep it from moving. You may need to wear a mouth guard to keep you from clenching or grinding your teeth while you are sleeping.
  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist will teach you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain in your jaw. A speech therapist may help you with swallowing and speech exercises.
  • Surgery: You may need surgery to fix your teeth, jawbone, or the joint.


You may bleed or get an infection if you have surgery. If left untreated, your condition may get worse. You may have trouble breathing, eating, drinking, talking, or opening your mouth. If not treated early, temporomandibular disorder may lead to permanent injury, such as nerve damage, deformity, or paralysis.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Temporomandibular Disorder (Inpatient Care)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.