December 13, 2020
Does your jaw click or pop when you open and close your mouth? Maybe you live with reoccurring jaw pain? You might have a disorder of the temporomandibular joint which connects your lower jaw to your skull on either side of your face. Unfortunately, there are times the joint can function incorrectly, leading to a variety of symptoms that can decrease your quality of life. When non-invasive solutions aren’t effective for treating TMJ in Denver, it might be time to consider surgery, but are you a candidate? Here’s what you need to know to determine if TMJ surgery is an option for you.
Do I Need Surgery for a TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorders are often treated using conservative treatments, like mouthguards, oral splints, and home exercises. Although they are effective solutions for many patients, they may not be enough for people who haven’t been able to find relief using traditional methods. Your oral surgeon in Denver will perform a thorough consultation to determine if you’re a candidate for TMJ therapy. Often, it’s recommended if:
- You experience intense or consistent pain when opening or closing your mouth.
- You can’t open or close your mouth fully.
- You have difficulty eating or drinking from the limited mobility of the joint.
- Your pain or immobility gets progressively worse despite nonsurgical treatments.
- You have a structural defect or disease in the joint.
When Is TMJ Surgery Not Recommended?
After performing a careful examination, your oral surgeon may advise against TMJ surgery under specific circumstances, such as:
- Your TMJ symptoms aren’t severe, like not having any pain when opening or closing your mouth, even if clicking or popping is present.
- Your symptoms aren’t consistent and vary in severity from one day to the next.
- You can open and close your jaw all the way, despite pain or tenderness.
What are My Options for TMJ Surgery?
If your oral surgeon determines surgery is in your best interest, there are a couple of different options depending on your needs:
- Arthrocentesis: A fluid is injected into the joint to reduce the chemical byproducts of inflammation. The injections can reduce pressure in the joint that makes it feel stiff and painful to improve your jaw’s function.
- Arthroscopy: A narrow tube is inserted through a small hole above the joint to allow small surgical tools to operate on the area without needing a large incision.
- Open-Joint Surgery: An incision is made over the joint to allow the surgeon to operate in the joint. This method is often used for severe cases where there is tissue or bone preventing the joint from moving.
If you’re ready to stop living with reoccurring jaw pain, you might be a candidate for TMJ surgery. You can get the relief you need to chew, speak, and even yawn without any discomfort.
About Dr. Brian Fangman
Dr. Fangman earned his doctorate from Ohio State University before completing additional training in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. He has a unique understanding of the temporomandibular joint and uses advanced treatments to improve its function. If you have a TMJ disorder, contact our office today to schedule your consultation.
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