Determining the cause of a TMJ problem is important, because it is the cause that guides the treatment. When symptoms of TMJ trouble appear, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon should be consulted. A specialist in the areas of the mouth, teeth and jaws, the oral and maxillofacial surgeon is in a good position to correctly diagnose the problem. Special imaging studies of the joints may be ordered and appropriate referral to other dental or medical specialists or a physical therapist may be made.
TMJ treatment may range from conservative dental and medical care to complex surgery. Depending on the diagnosis, treatment may include short-term non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain and muscle relaxation, bite plate or splint therapy, and even stress management counseling. Generally, if non-surgical treatment is unsuccessful or if there is clear joint damage, surgery may be indicated.