The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the most common cause of jaw pain or discomfort. Because it plays such an important role in daily oral function, a TMJ disorder can cause a significant amount of discomfort. If you have been experiencing jaw pain or an inability to open and close your mouth completely, we encourage you to contact Greater Modesto Dental Implant and Oral Surgery Center. Our doctors have extensive experience diagnosing and treating TMJ disorders, and they can perform an exam and develop a personalized treatment plan.
What is a TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint is located near the bottom of the ear at the back of the jaw and connects the lower jaw to the skull. It is both a hinge joint and a sliding joint, meaning it allows your jaw to move up and down and side to side. This versatility in the joint allows your jaw to easily perform day-to-day functions, such as chewing, speaking, and breathing.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
While the TMJ’s unique position makes it extremely functional, it also makes it vulnerable to disorders. It’s not always easy to pinpoint the exact cause of TMJ disorders, but they are known to develop for a variety of reasons:
- Displacement of the joint’s disk
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Head, neck, or jaw injury
If you experience any of the above, or you begin experiencing any of the symptoms below, you may be suffering from a TMJ disorder:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Popping or clicking noises in the jaw when opening the mouth
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Sore or stiff jaw muscles
- Ringing in the ears, ear pain, or hearing loss
- Inability to open the mouth all the way
- Constant headaches and dizziness
- Jaw locking when trying to open or close the mouth
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons undergo specialized training to treat TMJ disorders and restore oral and facial function. It’s important to see an oral and maxillofacial surgeon if you are suffering from a TMJ disorder because they are specialists and can make sure you receive personalized treatment.
Our doctors can treat TMJ disorders with either nonsurgical or surgical intervention at our office in Modesto, CA. The best way to determine what type of treatment you require is to come in for a consultation appointment. Your oral surgeon will perform a thorough examination of your jaws and face and take X-rays and/or 3D scans. Advanced imaging allows us to get an extremely accurate picture of your condition, which helps us plan a detailed and individualized treatment plan. In cases of mild TMJ disorders, treatment can involve changing daily behaviors and appropriate self-care. Maintaining a soft-food diet, resting the jaw, wearing a mouth guard at night, and applying ice and heat to the TMJ can be very effective. In more severe cases, however, you may require a surgical procedure.
The surgical procedure you need depends on your specific condition, but common recommendations include a lavage, arthrocentesis, removal of damaged tissue, or complete joint replacement. With a lavage, the jaw joint will be washed out, while arthrocentesis involves placing a camera in the joint to get a better look at the condition. Once this process is over, your surgeon can determine whether to wash out the joint, remove damaged tissue, or perform a more extensive procedure. Joint replacement, which involves placing a new, custom-designed joint, is typically only recommended in very severe cases of TMJ disorders.
Temporomandibular Joint Treatment in Modesto, CA
The doctors at Greater Modesto Dental Implant & Oral Surgery Center are dedicated to finding comprehensive and individualized treatment for every patient. If you suffer from any of the TMJ symptoms above, we encourage you to call our office and schedule a consultation appointment. Our oral surgeons will make sure you receive a long-term solution to your TMJ needs.