Health Library

Medications for Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

There are no medicines that treat TMD. Medicines may be used to treat pain. They may include pain relievers, muscle relaxers, or certain antidepressants. Some people may be given a steroid shot into the joint to ease swelling and severe pain. These are not used for a long time. .

Prescription Medicines

Benzodiazepines

  • Diazepam
  • Alprazolam
  • Clonazepam

Tricyclic antidepressants

  • Amitriptyline
  • Clomipramine
  • Desipramine
  • Imipramine
  • Nortriptyline

Over the Counter Medicines

Acetaminophen

Ibuprofen

Naproxen

Prescription Medicines

Benzodiazepines

Common names are:

  • Diazepam
  • Alprazolam
  • Clonazepam

Minor tranquilizers are only used in people with severe TMD. They relax the body and the muscles. This may help ease jaw and muscle pain. They may help people stop grinding their teeth and clenching.

They are often taken at night and for a very short time, often less than a month.

Some side effects are:

  • Dependence
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Lightheadedness

These should not be taken with alcohol or with other medicines that can cause drowsiness. This includes other sedatives, pain relievers, antihistamines, and sleeping pills.

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Common names are:

  • Amitriptyline
  • Clomipramine
  • Desipramine
  • Imipramine
  • Nortriptyline

These may help treat pain in people with severe TMD. They are often taken at night and for a very short time, often less than a month.

Some side effects are:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight gain
  • Sun sensitivity

These should not be taken with alcohol or with other medicines that can cause drowsiness. This includes other sedatives, pain relievers, antihistamines, and sleeping pills.

Over the Counter Medicines

Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen can help ease some jaw and muscle pain. It is also safe to give to children. Do not give more than your doctor tells you to. Do not drink alcohol while taking it.

Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen can also help ease jaw and muscle pain and swelling. Ibuprofen irritate the stomach, so it should be taken with food. Drinking it with alcohol raises the chance that it will cause stomach problems.

People have had rare reactions to it. If you notice a new skin rash, problems breathing, or swelling in your face or around your eyes, stop taking it and call your doctor right away.

Naproxen

Naproxen is like ibuprofen both in action and in side effects.

Special Considerations

If you are taking medicine:

  • Take it as advised. Do not change the amount or schedule.
  • Be aware of the side effectsif your medicine. Tell your doctor if you have any.
  • Talk to your doctor before you stop taking any prescription medicine.
  • Do not share your prescription medicine.
  • Medicines can be harmful when mixed. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking more than one. This includes over the counter products and supplements.
  • Plan for refills.

References

Temporomandibular disorders. American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.aaoms.org/docs/practice%5Fresources/clinical%5Fresources/tmd%5Fdisorders.pdf. Accessed May 18, 2022.

Temporomandibular disorders. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/temporomandibular-disorders. Accessed May 18, 2022.

Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) pain. ENThealth—American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: https://www.enthealth.org/conditions/temporo-mandibular-joint-tmj-pain/. Accessed May 18, 2022.

TMJ. Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/tmj. Accessed May 18, 2022.

TMJ (temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders). National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at:https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/tmd. Accessed May 18, 2022.