The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the jawbone to the skull. One is located on each side of your jaw. The TMJ is complex, acting like a sliding hinge that allows you to talk, eat, and swallow.
Disorders of the TMJ are quite common and can lead to chronic pain, bite problems, and other issues. For patients with conditions that do not respond to non-invasive treatments, TMJ surgery can relieve symptoms and improve function.
Here are the top five benefits of TMJ surgery:
- Pain reduction: TMJ disorder pain can occur near the jaw or radiate to the neck and head. When the jaw is properly aligned through surgery, patients often report a significant or total decrease in pain.
- Proper jaw and teeth position: The TMJ only functions effectively when the jaw and teeth are properly aligned. Surgery can correct these issues to create balance and promote healthy joint movement.
- Improved breathing, chewing, and speaking: All of these processes can be disrupted when the jaw becomes injured or misaligned. TMJ surgery helps improve speech impediments, enable proper chewing, and improve breathing.
- Decreased snoring and sleep apnea: Because TMJ can change the position of your jaw, some patients (and their partners) notice increased snoring. Sleep apnea is also common in people with TMJ. Researchers believe it is caused by stress and tension on the jaw joints as the body pushes the lower jaw forward to open the airway during sleep. These issues can be resolved surgically for a better night’s sleep.
- Balanced jaw structure: TMJ surgery can improve the lives of patients with a receding chin, over-bite, under-bite, cross-bite, and other facial injuries and deformities. Facial balance enhances one’s appearance and helps patients feel and look their best.
What Are TMJ Disorder Symptoms?
Patients can have a wide range of TMJ disorder symptoms, including:
- Clenching and/or grinding of teeth.
- Clicking or grating noises when opening the mouth.
- Difficulty opening the mouth wide.
- Jaw misalignment.
- Misaligned bite.
- Pain when opening the mouth.
- Problems with chewing.
- Sleep apnea.
- Speech problems.
Keep in mind, these symptoms can be linked to other health conditions. Your oral surgeon will perform a thorough examination and use dental X-rays and other imaging tests to accurately diagnose a TMJ disorder.
TMJ Surgery: An Overview
With early, proactive oral care, many patients can manage their TMJ condition with conservative, reversible therapies, including exercise, physical therapy appliances, and medications.
More severe conditions are treated with the following corrective surgical procedures:
- Arthroscopy/arthrocentesis: A small instrument or needles are used to flush the joint and insert an anti-inflammatory agent.
- Joint restructuring: Deteriorating are repaired or replaced, primarily in patients with arthritis.
- Soft tissue repair: Stretched ligaments or connective tissue are tightened up and “locked” jaws are released.
It is important to note that every patient and every case is unique. Schedule a consultation with an oral surgeon to find out what is causing your symptoms and to move forward with the best course of treatment.
South Jersey Oral Surgeons at Lanzi Burke Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons Can Alleviate Your Jaw Pain
Our South Jersey oral surgeons at Lanzi Burke Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons are committed to creating the ideal treatment plan for your TMJ disorder. Call us at 856-582-4222 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Located in Washington Township, Haddonfield, and Woolwich Township, New Jersey, we assist patients across South Jersey.