You’ve likely heard of TMJ disorders before. Some people simply refer to them as “TMJ,” though they can also be referred to as TMD. There are many misunderstandings about TMJ disorders, what causes them, and how they can be treated. When your dentist is unable to find a good non-invasive therapy for your TMJ disorder, that is when our oral surgeons come into play. Surgery for TMJ can prove very effective.
We’d like to take a few moments right now to consider the TMJ disorder treatment process and what surgery for it may entail.
About TMJ Disorders
TMJ disorders refer to a variety of problems that affect the jaw joint, also known as the temporomandibular joint. This is the most complicated joint in the human body given all the different motions that need to be made in order to speak and chew.
Some of the most common and well known signs of TMJ disorders are:
- Jaw pain
- Ear pain
Causes of TMJ Disorders
The most common causes of TMJ disorders include:
- Tooth grinding
- Injury/trauma to the jaw
When Non-Invasive Therapies Are Unsuccessful
The best course of treatment for TMJ disorders involves the use of non-invasive therapies such as mouth guards, orthodontics, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Sometimes these kinds of therapies prove unsuccessful, however, which is common with serious TMJ disorders. In these cases, skeletal jaw surgery of some kind will need to be considered for successful treatment.
There are two common kinds of TMJ disorder surgeries: arthoscopy and open joint surgery.
Let’s conclude by looking at both of these surgeries briefly right now.
Arthoscopic TMJ Surgery
Arthroscopy is a common form of surgery used to treat a number of joints in the body. The arthroscopy is performed with general anesthesia to prevent undue discomfort and unease from the patient. A small incision is made in front of the ear, through which a small, thin surgical camera is inserted. This camera allows the surgeon to inspect the joint and make the necessary corrections to it.
With arthoscopy, the scars from surgery are generally small and the healing time is not particularly long. If surgery for your TMJ disorder is necessary, arthoscopy is always an ideal choice.
Open TMJ Surgery
Open joint surgery covers a variety of surgeries that are done with the joint exposed in plain sight. These surgeries are performed with the patient under general anesthetic so there is no distress or undue discomfort. Open joint surgery is usually the last resort when it comes to TMJ disorder treatment since it is the most invasive form of joint surgery.
With open joint surgery, the scars from treatment tend to be larger and noticeable than arthoscopy, though this depends on the extent of the incision needed for treatment. Healing is longer than arthoscopy as well simply given the nature of open surgeries.