Management of Temporomandibular Disorders (TMDs)

9 July, 2024

Temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) are a group of conditions affecting the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), muscles of mastication, and associated structures. The NICE Clinical Knowledge Summary (CKS) on TMDs provides detailed guidance for the diagnosis, management, and treatment of these conditions.


TMDs can cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and muscles, affecting daily activities like chewing and speaking.

Diagnosis and Assessment

  • Symptoms: Common symptoms include jaw pain, clicking or popping sounds, limited jaw movement, and headaches.
  • Examination: Physical examination and patient history are crucial for diagnosis. Imaging may be used if necessary.

Management Strategies

  • Self-care: Patients are encouraged to practice jaw exercises, apply heat or cold packs, and avoid hard or chewy foods.
  • Medications: Analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and muscle relaxants may be prescribed.
  • Therapies: Physical therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and occlusal splints can be beneficial.
  • Referral: Severe or persistent cases may require referral to a specialist.


Effective management of TMDs involves a combination of self-care, medical treatments, and therapeutic interventions. Early diagnosis and a multidisciplinary approach can help alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.

Read more: Temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) | Health topics A to Z | CKS | NICE

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