This paper is a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials comparing arthrocentesis with conservative management in painful and restricted mouth opening temporomandibular joint symptoms. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction comprises a spectrum of disorders commonly involving facial pain and loss of oral function with reduced mouth opening. This paper identified seven studies for analysis where there was thought to be limited bias. The reviews suggested that an arthrocentesis is statistically superior to conservative management in the reduction of pain and improvement of jaw opening in patients with painful closed lock at six months after the interval intervention. However, the differences were thought to be marginal and unlikely to be clinically relevant. When the confidence interval was taken into account, it raised the possibility that there was no superiority in such an intervention. Whilst there are many interventions, with a variety of degrees of success and on an individual-to-individual basis, an arthrocentesis remains one of the armoury in managing patients in addition to any placebo effect of low-risk surgery.