TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are problems related to your jaw joint. Since some types of TMJ disorders can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important. If you have pain in your jaw joints or find it difficult to open or close your mouth without causing pain, then you may suffer from a TMJ disorder.
There are several ways in which relief can be initially provided once a diagnosis is obtained. A mouth bite appliance can be made to stop teeth grinding, especially during the night. In addition, certain patients respond well to over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as Ibuprofen, and sometimes the use of muscle relaxants is beneficial. Using a physical therapist or chiropractor is advantageous to patients who have a TMJ disorder, as these therapies treat myofascial muscular disorders interrelated to TMJ problems. Stress reduction also helps with the recovery of TMJ issues. The majority of patients with TMJ disorders respond well to this nonsurgical management, but this takes time and effort on your behalf.
There are certain patients who do not respond well to this approach and over time may require a surgical procedure to alleviate their TMJ disorder. The doctors at Oral Facial Surgery Institute have treated numerous TMJ patients with arthocentesis, arthroscopic surgery, arthroplasty, and total temporomandibular joint reconstruction.
Arthrocentesis – This is a minimally invasive procedure that can be performed in our office. It involves lysis and lavage within the temporomandibular joint, which is the washing and manipulation of the joint under general or intravenous anesthesia.
Arthroscopic Surgery –This is a procedure performed with a small instrument with a tiny camera attached. This too, involves lysis and lavage of the joint and in some cases, re-positioning of a displaced disc.
Open Arthroplasty – This is a procedure performed by making an incision, most often in a skin crease in front of the ear. This procedure is normally aimed at repairing or re-positioning a displaced disc, but sometimes can result in disc removal (menisectomy). If a disc is removed, there are many techniques used today to attempt replacement.
Total Joint Replacement – This is a procedure performed by sometimes making two incisions, one in front of the ear as in open arthroplasty and one just under the angle of the jaw. This procedure is reserved for more severe and chronic conditions that may not respond as effectively to other surgical treatment methods.
If you have any symptoms of a TMJ disorder that is limiting your jaw function or causing discomfort, please contact one of our offices to schedule an exam and consultation.
Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of temporomandibular disorder, our specialists will determine the proper course of treatment.