Medications to Treat TMJ

TMJ, or Temporo-Mandibular Joint Disorders, is a class of disorders that affect the jawbone, according to the TMJ Association. They affect jaw movement and the muscles and surrounding tissues of the jaw. TMJ causes several other symptoms that may be confused with other medical problems. There are treatments available for TMJ, such as surgery, jaw splints or medications. Medications provide short-term relief of pain.

A woman is experiencing pain. Credit: Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

Muscle Relaxants

Muscle relaxants are medications given to relax the muscles surrounding the jaw that tend to become tight when one has TMJ. Examples of commonly prescribed muscle relaxants are Flexyrl and Skelaxin. According to, they affect the body's central nervous system and relax the muscle in question to allow it to heal.


Painkillers, such as Percocet, Vicodin or Oxycodone, are narcotic medications that are used to treat moderate to severe pain. These painkillers are opiates that affect the brain to relieve pain, according to Painkillers are to be used for a short time only, because they lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms when not taken.


NSAIDs, or Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs, are used to treat the inflammation of the jaw muscles and surrounding tissues, according to MedicineNet. They also are used to treat mild to moderate pain. Examples of NSAIDs are Celebrex and Naproxen. Unlike painkillers, they do not lead to dependence, but are not as strong in treating pain.

OTC Medications

OTC, or over-the-counter, medications such as Tylenol and Advil are the most common medications given by doctors treating TMJ. This is because there is no chance for an individual to develop dependency on the drug and is often useful in treating the pain associated with TMJ.

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