TMJ Surgery

TMJ Disorders and Surgery
Temporomandibular joint disorder, otherwise known as TMJ, is not one issue with your jaw, but many issues combined. When the joints and muscles that make up your jaw are not working in perfect unison, you could hear a clicking sound or suffer from pain in the jaw and facial region. The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw and skull together and can cause a variety of issues not necessarily associated with jaw pain. Some patients find that they have trouble chewing, while others might strictly have chronic pain in the ear that is related to the TMJ. These issues can occur as a result of a sudden injury or be an issue that you have had since you were born.

Symptoms of TMJ
Every patient presents differently when they are suffering from TMJ, but a few of the most common symptoms include:
•  Grinding teeth at night
•  Stiff muscles in the jaw area, especially in the morning
•  Chronic ear or headaches
•  Clicking sound in your jaw with movement
•  Uneven wear on your teeth
•  Difficulty chewing
•  Chronic facial pain


Reasons for TMJ
There are a variety of causes of TMJ, but sometimes the cause is unknown. In many cases it is simply caused by grinding your teeth at night, which can occur as a result of stress. Other reasons for chronic jaw pain include:
•  Sudden injury to the jaw: This can cause the disc that separates the bones in your jaw to become misaligned, causing pain.
•  Rheumatoid arthritis: This condition affects many joints in your body, including the jaw, causing chronic pain.
•  Accidents that do not directly hit the jaw: Even accidents that do not involve a direct blow to the jaw, but affect your head or neck could inadvertently cause damage to the TMJ.


Normal TMJ Function
TMJ - Anterior Disc Displacement
TMJ - Degenerative Disc

TMJ -Arthritic Joint


Treatment of TMJ
The treatment of TMJ is often a controversial topic. Not everyone believes that surgery is necessary or even successful. Generally, we try to apply the least invasive procedures first to determine if they provide our patients with the relief that they need. Oftentimes this simply means the use of heat or ice on the area, the use of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications and a modified diet that consists of soft foods. When these tactics do not work, we have to employ more intensive measures in order to provide you with relief. These techniques include:
•  Corrective dental techniques, such as the use of a mouth guard at night to prevent teeth grinding, obtaining braces to straighten your bite and the use of bridges in order to even out the surfaces of your teeth, making biting more even and comfortable.
•  Stress reduction techniques to alleviate the pain that you feel in your jaw area, including behavioral therapy, yoga and meditation.
•  Ultrasound, which is an intense heat that is applied to the area to promote more fluid movement in the jaw.
•  Injection of steroids directly into the joint to eliminate the pain.


Surgery for TMJ
Sometimes surgery becomes necessary in order to alleviate the pain in your jaw. There are two types of surgery that we can prescribe: Arthroscopy, which is a minimally invasive surgery with a quick recovery and open joint surgery, which is more intensive with a longer recovery.
•  Arthroscopy - this surgical procedure requires a small incision near the ear in order to gain access to the jaw area. From that incision, a small instrument is fed into the area that contains a lens that enables the OMS to see inside the joint on a video screen. After viewing the joint, the OMS can determine what needs to be done, whether it is realigning the disc or removing inflamed or scarred tissue.
•  Open-joint Surgery - In open joint surgery, the entire jaw area is opened for the OMS to work on. This allows easier access to the entire jawbone and allows us to remove tumors, bones that have been weak or severe scar tissue, in order to alleviate your pain.

If you have joint pain that has not diminished with at-home care, it is time to get your jaw evaluated by an OMS who can tell you exactly what will help your joint heal and be able to fully function once again.

Frank RL Frishkey DDS
11725 Highland Meadow
Houston, TX 77089-6827
phone: (281) 484-9400
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Southeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery | www.seoms-houston.com | (281) 484-9400
11725 Highland Meadow, Houston, TX 77089



 

 

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