When your temporomandibular joint (located in your upper jaw, near your ear) doesn't work correctly, it can prohibit you from chewing, talking, yawning, moving your jaw, and countless other necessary movements.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) can even cause toothaches, headaches, neck aches, dizziness, earaches, hearing problems, upper shoulder pain, and ringing in the ears. TMJ affects many people every year, especially women.
Luckily, there are several procedures that can help you get your life back to normal.
TMJ Treatment Options
Here at Oral Facial Reconstruction, we offer a wide range of TMJ treatments.
One of the most effective ways to diagnose and treat TMJ disorder is with a TMJ arthroscopy.
During arthroscopic jaw surgery, your oral surgeon inserts an arthroscope (a pencil-thin, lighted tube) into the jaw joint through a small incision in the skin. A small camera attached to the arthroscope transmits close-up images of the TMJ joint to a TV monitor.
Your oral surgeon can then insert surgical instruments through the arthroscope to do surgery on the joint and prevent any need for more surgical incisions.
We are one of the first offices in the United States to offer TMJ arthroscopy as an in-office procedure.
If your jaw problem can't be resolved with more conservative treatment and is caused by a structural problem in the joint, your oral surgeon may recommend open-joint surgery (arthrotomy) to repair or replace the joint.
In addition to arthroscopy, here are some of the other TMJ treatments we offer:
Total Joint Replacement
What Happens at Your First TMJ Consultation Appointment?
For patients who are being referred for treatment of their temporomandibular joints, we will do the following:
Evaluate your condition.
Take a scout radiograph called a Panorex.
Measure your jaw opening and side movements.
Record your pain grade. This grade is on a 0 to 10 scale, with 10 being the worse pain imaginable.
Determine if an MRI is necessary. If it is, we will give you a prescription for the radiographic exam and refer you to an approved MRI center.
Determine if an oral orthotic device is recommended. If it is, we will take impressions of your teeth.
Determine your physical therapy needs.
What Happens After Your First TMJ Consultation Appointment?
It usually takes 7 to 10 working days for an oral orthotic device to be made from the mold we send in.
If you have an MRI, you must have the MRI center duplicate the films and give you copies or have them give you the scan on a CD. You are then to bring the CD or films to us at your next office visit. All this information will be reviewed at your second office visit.
After physical therapy and conservative treatment are performed for a few weeks, you will be re-evaluated. If further action is required, it will be recommended at that time.
Arthroscopy is performed as an outpatient procedure in a hospital or at our office under general anesthesia. It involves making a small puncture in front of your ear and a small probe inserted into your joint. When finished, a band-aid is applied.
Usually, there are no stitches involved. Following the procedure, post-operative physical therapy will begin within 24-48 hours.
An oral rehabilitation device may be recommended for you following your surgery. We usually recommend either a Therabyte or Dyna-Surg splint. These devices require pre-approval from most insurance companies.
Post-operative appointments are usually at 1 and 2 weeks following arthroscopy. At those visits, measurements will be made of your jaw opening and side movements. Additionally, you will be asked to once again grade your pain on a zero to 10 scale.
Most patients are concerned about popping. This is a function of your disc within your temporomandibular joint. Not all noises are eliminated with surgery. Occasionally some popping persists.
Looking for TMJ Treatment?
You've come to the right place. At Oral Facial Reconstruction, we're committed to helping patients get the oral and maxillofacial care they need. We offer dental implants, orthognathic surgery, and more.