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The temporomandibular joint is a small ball-and-socket joint that is located on each side of your jaw near your ears. These joints act like hinges and allow your lower jaw to move up and down, sideways and backward. If these joints become damaged, they result in temporomandibular disorders (TMD/TMJ).
Causes of TMJ Disorders
The exact cause of temporomandibular disorders is often difficult to diagnose. There may be a single cause or numerous causes for TMJ disorder in a single patient. Some of them include:
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders include:
Non-Invasive Treatments for Temporomandibular Joints
At Jonathan J. Golab, DDS, PA, Dr. Jonathan Golab can discuss the different treatment options for you. Some of the non-invasive treatment options are:
If you suffer from jaw pain and swelling, we may prescribe you nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to manage the conditions. Muscle relaxants are also a good treatment to relax your jaw and prevent clenching. Anti-anxiety medication can also help you relieve stress, which can cause TMJ disorders.
Night Mouthguards or Splints
Night mouthguards are plastic devices that fit over your upper and lower teeth to prevent them from directly touching each other. They can help you fight the symptoms of bruxism during sleep and prevent jaw pain and tooth damage by distributing the force of your bite.
Ultrasound produces thermal effect, which can help relieve muscle pain and improve jaw mobility.
We may recommend injecting anesthesia or pain medication into the “trigger points” of your face, which can provide you relief from pain and relax your facial muscles.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
This treatment involves the use of low-voltage electric currents to relax jaw muscles and joint and provide relief from pain.
Applying low level lasers to the sore spots helps relieve inflammation, improves neck mobility, and allows you to open your mouth more easily.
Surgery for Temporomandibular Joints
Surgery is usually only considered when all the other therapeutic efforts proved insufficient to treat your TMJ disorder. Dr. Jonathan Golab will first determine whether your TMJ disorders are due to structural problems or positioning of the joint.
In some cases, surgery is the only option since patients with certain degenerative diseases may not respond well to other treatments.
Some surgical treatments for temporomandibular disorders are:
Arthrocentesis is usually performed to treat a lockjaw. We will give you general anesthesia and then make a small incision in front of your ear to insert a tool called the arthroscope. We will examine your joint and its surrounding area, remove the inflamed and damaged tissue, and then wash out the joint.
The surgery is minimally invasive and may leave just a small scar with few risks. You will be recovered in a short time.
Modified condylotomy is surgery on the lower jaw, rather than on the TMJ itself. It can be helpful to treat lockjaw and relieve pain.
If your TMJ disorders do not resolve with conservative surgeries, you may be recommended open-jaw surgery. There are many causes for open-joint surgery, including:
Open-jaw surgeries are very risky, and you may take a long time to recover from this type of surgery. It is also irreversible, and you have a greater chance of scarring and nerve injury, among other risks. Open-jaw surgery is recommended in very rare cases. If you have been suggested an open-jaw surgery, get a second opinion from Dr. Jonathan Golab.
At , we will discuss all the pros and cons of TMJ treatments with you so that you can have a clear understanding of what to expect from the procedure. To discuss your treatment options, call us at (469) 444-7919 today.