Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMJDs) refer to a group of conditions that can cause dysfunction and discomfort in the jaw joint and the muscles responsible for controlling jaw movement. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, TMJDs are the second-most common type of musculoskeletal consdition resulting in pain and possible disability. This affects between 5 and 12 percent of the population. If you have been diagnosed with a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder or another TMJD, it’s important to understand what treatment options are available to you. An oral surgeon in Melbourne FL could help you manage your condition and alleviate your discomfort.
What Is TMJ Dysfunction?
TMJ dysfunctions affect the jaw joints and surrounding ligaments and muscles. It is common for people with TMJ to experience a range of side effects, such as headaches, jaw pain, and difficulty opening and closing the mouth. Some people may also experience facial pain, stiffness in the jaw, jaw popping or clicking, earaches, tinnitus, or toothaches.
While it is not yet known what causes TMD, some experts believe the condition is caused by problems that develop within parts of the jaw joints or the muscles that control the jaw. Injury to the joint, jaw, or muscles in the back of the neck or head can contribute to TMJ dysfunction. Other possible causes include:
- Arthritis that develops in the jaw joint
- Clenching or grinding your teeth
- Stress that causes jaw and facial muscles to tighten
- Shifting of the disc or tissue between the joint’s ball and socket
How are TMJ Disorders Diagnosed?
Diagnosing a TMJ condition involves asking the patient a series of questions and conducting several imaging tests. First, your oral surgeon will ask what symptoms you are experiencing. The severity of the symptoms, and how long they have been occurring. He may feel and listen to your jaw as you open and close your mouth.
If your oral surgeon suspects a problem, he may take dental X-rays to examine your jaw and teeth. In more serious cases, a CT scan may be recommended to obtain detailed images of the bone surrounding the joint, or an MRI to determine if problems exist with the joint’s desk or surrounding soft tissue.
What Is the Preferred Treatment for TMJ?
Treatment for TMJ disorder is based on the severity of the condition and how the patient responds to certain treatments. Nonsurgical treatments are often the starting point for people with TMJ conditions. Pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, tricyclic antidepressants, and muscle relaxants have been found to help relieve symptoms.
Non-drug therapies for TMJ disorder include the use of mouth guards or oral splints, physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the jaw muscles, and counseling to help patients better understand what behaviors may be aggravating their discomfort, such as teeth grinding or clenching.
When Should I See an Oral Surgeon?
When non-surgical treatment options are not enough, a patient may require more invasive treatment for their TMJ disorder. Corrective jaw surgery, otherwise known as orthognathic surgery, can help correct abnormalities of the facial bones, specifically the teeth and jaws. When performed by an experienced oral surgeon in Melbourne, corrective jaw surgery can provide patients with lasting relief from their TMJ disorder.
Corrective jaw surgery is generally considered when other treatment options are not effective in relieving persistent TMJ disorder symptoms. Arthrocentesis is the least invasive type of orthognathic surgery and involves irrigating and lubricating the TMJ using a needle. Another type of surgery, known as a modified condylotomy, can prevent the lower jaw from locking in place. If the disc inside the joint is affected, disc repositioning or discectomy may be recommended.
Request an Appointment Today
Sedaros Oral Facial Surgery & Dental Implants offers state-of-the-art technologies, coupled with surgeries designed to help improve patient’s smile and health. To learn more about treatment for TMJ disorders, contact our office at 321.610.7868 to request an appointment.