Many people think “teeth” when they hear “oral surgery” – and they’re not wrong. But, around 10 million Americans are affected by TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, disorder. This painful condition affects the motion of the jaw joint that is responsible for chewing, speaking, and eating. How can oral surgery help TMJ disorder?
If your TMJ is becoming too difficult to manage, or you are still experiencing pain with non-surgical treatment, you may want to consider oral surgery. Here, we will cover how oral surgery can help with TMJ disorder.
How Can Oral Surgery Help TMJ Disorder? 3 Questions
In order to know how to defeat a problem, we have to understand it. Let’s explore what exactly TMJ disorder is, first.
1. What is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorder primarily affects women, but anyone can experience the symptoms of TMJ. Common symptoms of the disorder include:
- Jaw clicking or “popping”
- Difficulty chewing
- Jaw locking
- Pain in the jaw, mouth, or ears
Your dentist or oral surgeon can typically diagnose TMJ if you grind or clench your teeth, suffer from arthritis, or have suffered from a jaw injury.
2. When Is Oral Surgery an Option?
Typically, your dentist or oral surgeon wants to try non-invasive treatment first to treat TMJ. They may recommend the use of a mouth guard if your TMJ is worsened by teeth grinding, or anti-inflammatory medications to reduce jaw swelling and pain. If there is serious damage to the jaw joint, your oral surgeon will likely recommend surgical treatment to help your TMJ disorder.
3. How Can Oral Surgery Help TMJ Disorder?
There are two main types of oral surgery performed for TMJ disorders. The first is called Arthroscopic TMJ Surgery. Performed with the patient under general anesthesia, this surgery is minimally invasive and involves a small incision made near the ear. An oral surgeon will use a camera to look at the joint and make the proper corrections. Healing time can be short following arthroscopic surgery. As a result, it is often the first option for TMJ surgery.
In addition, a second surgery also helps TMJ disorder. Open TMJ Surgery is the term used to cover a variety of surgeries that occur with larger incisions made near the jaw to expose the jaw joint. The patient will also go under general anesthesia for this procedure. However, this type of surgery is reserved for more severe TMJ cases. Healing will take considerably longer after open TMJ surgery. With that said, the benefits should be noticeable.
So, can oral surgery help TMJ disorder? Yes. TMJ is usually treatable under the care of a highly trained and knowledgeable oral surgeon. The team at East Brainerd Oral Surgery can help you determine if surgery is needed for your TMJ disorder. Give us a call today at (423) 296-8210 for a consultation.