TMJ disorder, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is a condition that causes neck and facial pain and dysfunction in the jaw, jaw joints, and the facial muscles that control it.
Numerous things can cause TMJ disorder, including:
- Injury to the jaw, such as a fracture
- Arthritis in the jaw joint
- Clenching or teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Extreme stress that causes you to tighten your jaw muscles
TMJ Disorder Symptoms
- TMJ pain
- Jaw, face, or neck pain
- Clicking or popping sounds with jaw movement
- Difficulty chewing
- Jaw locking
- Facial fatigue
You should seek treatment from a qualified oral surgeon if you experience one or more of these symptoms. At Virginia Oral Surgery Specialists, we offer comprehensive TMJ treatment in Vienna, VA.
Diagnosis & Treatment for TMJ Disorders
In many cases, treatment can be completed using nonsurgical methods, such as:
- Oral Appliances: An oral appliance, also known as a mouthguard, can be used to realign the jaw and relieve pressure on the TMJ.
- Dietary Changes: Certain foods, such as chewy or hard candy, can put additional strain on the TMJ. We may recommend changing your diet to avoid foods that trigger your symptoms.
- Muscle Relaxation Exercises: Stress can exacerbate TMJ disorder. We may suggest relaxation techniques or stress management counseling to help you minimize stress and ease your symptoms.
- Pain Medication: Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication may be used to relieve pain and inflammation associated with TMJ disorder.
- Injections: Corticosteroid injections can also be used to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Botox injections: These are useful in certain cases where there is high muscle tension such as in myofascial pain dysfunction syndrome( MPDS )
If nonsurgical methods are not effective, we may recommend surgery. Surgery for TMJ disorder is typically reserved for severe cases that have not responded to conservative treatment.
The severity of your TMJ disorder will determine the type of surgery we perform. We may recommend one or more of the following procedures:
- Arthroscopy: Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that can be used to help treat TMJ disorder. A small incision is made in the skin over the top of the joint, and a thin, flexible telescope (arthroscope) is inserted into the joint. The doctor can then clean out the joint, smooth rough surfaces, or remove debris.
- Open Joint Surgery: Open joint surgery is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the damaged joint and replacement with an artificial joint. This surgery is typically reserved for more severe cases of TMJ disorder that have not responded to conservative treatment.
- Joint Replacement: Joint replacement involves completely removing the damaged joint and replacement with an artificial joint. This surgery is typically reserved as a last resort for more severe cases of TMJ disorder that have not responded to conservative treatments.
After your TMJ surgery, you will need to take it easy for a few days. You may experience some swelling and discomfort, which can be controlled with pain medication. Avoid extreme jaw movements. Call our office immediately if you experience severe pain in your jaw muscles or jaw joint.