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Temporomandibular Disorders: Ways to Ease Pain - Topic Overview

If you have a temporomandibular disorder (TMD), you can try ice or heat to relieve your pain.

Put either an ice pack or a warm, moist cloth on your jaw for 15 minutes several times a day. You can try switching back and forth between moist heat and cold. Gently open and close your mouth while you use the ice pack or heat.

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Apply moist heat to your jaw to relieve sore, tense muscles.

  • Dip a towel in hot tap water or warm a damp towel in a microwave oven. You may also use a hot pack, electric moist heating unit, or a heating pad set on low or medium.
  • Apply moist heat (no warmer than bath water) to your jaw muscles 3 to 4 times a day for 15 minutes each time.
  • If moist heat alone does not bring relief, alternate moist heat and an ice pack. Apply each for 5 to 8 minutes.

Do not use heat if you have had an injury to the jaw, you have difficulty sensing pain, or you have poor blood circulation.

Apply ice to your jaw if there is swelling, such as from a recent injury.

  • Apply ice 3 or 4 times a day for 15 minutes each time. Do this for the first 3 days.
  • After 3 days, apply moist heat, following the same schedule, for 1 week.

Use aspirin or another nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (such as Motrin or Advil) to reduce jaw swelling and pain.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 11, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

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American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

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