The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) refers to a small joint which is located in the front of the ear where the skull meets the lower jaw. It provides the lower jaw with the ability to move and function.
The occurrence of TMJ disorders is not uncommon. People with such disorders may experience various symptoms, including headaches, earaches, and challenges in opening their mouth.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Landon D. McLain provides treatments to patients in Huntsville, Madison, Florence, Decatur, Scottsboro, Cullman, Athens, Alabama, and surrounding communities.
The patient should consult an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) when symptoms of TMJ related problems surface. An OMS specializes in areas of the teeth, mouth, and jaws allowing them to diagnose the issue accurately.
The diagnosis of TMJ disorders can be challenging and may warrant various diagnostic procedures. The OMS may order special imaging tests of the joint as well as refer the patient to other dental or medical specialist or a physical therapist.
Sometimes TMJ arthroscopy is used to diagnose a TMJ condition. In this procedure, the doctor inserts a narrow tube (cannula) into the joint space. After that they insert a tiny camera, known as an arthroscope, to view the area and diagnose the condition.
The treatment of TMJ disorders may range from conservative medical and dental care to complex surgery. The treatment may include short-term non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain relief and muscle relaxation, splint or bite plate therapy, or stress management consulting.
If nonsurgical treatment is ineffective, or there is extensive joint damage, the patient may have to undergo surgery. The surgical procedure may be arthroscopic or involve a direct surgical approach to repair damaged tissue.
After the correct diagnosis of the TMJ disorder, the OMS can recommend the most suitable treatment to address the problem.
Surgical or Other Procedures
In case other methods are ineffective the doctor may recommend the following procedures:
This minimally invasive procedure involves inserting tiny needles within the joint to irrigate fluid through the joint in order to flush out debris and inflammatory byproducts.
Injecting corticosteroid into the joint may be helpful for some patients. At times, botulinum toxin type A (Botox, others) injections in the jaw muscles may offer relief from pain associated with TMJ disorders.
Sometimes arthroscopic surgery can be as effective in treating different types of TMJ disorders as conventional open-joint surgery. In this procedure, the surgeon inserts a narrow tube (cannula) within the joint space.
After this, they insert an arthroscope and tiny surgical instruments for the procedure. In comparison to open-joint surgery, TMJ arthroscopy has fewer risks and complications. However, it also involves certain limitations.
Modified condylotomy treats TMJ disorders indirectly. This procedure involves surgery on the mandible rather than the joint itself. This may be a suitable treatment option for patients experiencing pain and locking.
If more conservative approaches are unable to relieve the jaw pain and it appears to occur due to a structural issue within the joint, the doctor or dentist may recommend arthrotomy (open-joint surgery) to restore or replace the joint.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Landon D. McLain receives patients from Huntsville, Madison, Florence, Decatur, Scottsboro, Cullman, Athens, Alabama, and nearby areas.
McLain Surgical Arts is a leading cosmetic plastic surgery practice headed by Dr. Landon D. McLain MD, DMD, FACS in Huntsville, AL. Dr. McLain is a double board certified cosmetic and oral & maxillofacial surgeon, offering a variety of procedures such as dental implants, wisdom teeth extraction, breast augmentation, liposuction, rhinoplasty, tummy tuck, facelift, Botox, and laser skin resurfacing. For more information or to schedule a consultation call 256.429.3411 or click here.
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