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Talking to Your Doctor About Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Talking to Your Doctor About Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with TMD. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

Tips for Getting Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask. They may also be able to give more details.
  • Write your questions down ahead of time so you do not forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get. Make sure you understand what you hear. Ask to know more if you need to.
  • Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.

Some Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About TMD

  • How do I know if my symptoms are from TMD?
  • Can TMD be cured?

About Your Risk of Developing TMD

  • What are some things that might make me get TMD?
  • Is my bite normal?
  • Could any facial or dental problems make TMD worse?

About Treatment Options

  • What kinds of treatment can I use to ease my TMD?
  • Are there self-care steps I can use?
  • Are there medicines I can take to ease pain?
    • What types should I use?
    • How long should I use them?
    • Are they okay to take with my other medicines or supplements?
  • Should I be using a mouth guard to help me stop grinding my teeth and clenching my jaw?
  • Should I talk with my dentist about fitting a mouth plate or nightguard?
  • Do I need surgery?
  • When is surgery needed?
  • Are there any complementary or alternative treatments for TMD?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • How can I learn to handle stress in my life?
  • How can I break my jaw-clenching habit?
  • Are there other things I can do to lower my stress?

About Your Outlook

  • Does TMD worsen, or can it be stopped with treatment?
  • What problems could I suffer if my TMD gets worse?


  • Getting the most outof your doctor appointment. FamilyDoctor.org—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Accessed May 17, 2022.
  • Temporomandibular disorders. American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.aaoms.org/docs/practice_resources/clinical_resources/tmd_disorders.pdf. Accessed May 17, 2022.
  • Temporomandibular disorders. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/temporomandibular-disorders. Accessed May 17, 2022.
  • Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) pain. ENThealth—American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/content/tmj. Accessed May 17, 2022.
  • TMJ. Mouth Healthy—American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/tmj. Accessed May 17, 2022.
  • TMJ (temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders). National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at: https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/Topics/TMJ/TMJDisorders.htm. Accessed May 17, 2022.


  • Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.