Temporomandibular Disorders Follow-up

Updated: Feb 22, 2017
  • Author: Joseph Rios, MD; Chief Editor: Robert A Egan, MD  more...
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Most cases of temporomandibular disorder (TMD) respond to simple treatment and the prognosis is good. Symptoms usually remit with simple care. In cases of secondary involvement of temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the prognosis depends on the primary disease. A second opinion should be obtained in cases in which irreversible treatment is being considered.


Patient Education

See the list below:

  • The pathology producing the pain and dysfunction should be discussed with the patient. Patients should be told about the possible prognosis of their problem. Myofascial pain and dysfunction tends to have a self-limiting course and needs simple treatment; even though these patients may have recurrences, the symptoms generally are controlled by simple treatment. A patient with TMD secondary to degenerative joint disease should be made aware of the signs of further deterioration such as increasing pain, further limitation of movement, and increased joint sounds.

  • Self-care includes simple measures such as soft diet with gradual progression to normal diet over 6-8 weeks, avoiding large bites and clenching of teeth, avoiding chewing gum and pens, keeping jaw relaxed, yawning against pressure, massage of jaw and temple muscles, use of moist heat, avoiding cradling the phone between ear and shoulder, good sleep posture with adequate neck support, and passive or active range of motion exercises.

  • For excellent patient education resources, see eMedicineHealth's patient education article Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome.