One of the body’s most complex joints, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) has dual functionality as both a ball-and-socket joint and a sliding joint. The TMJ is responsible for speech, eating, and swallowing. When the TMJ joint becomes damaged or diseased, it can lead to chronic pain and other conditions that further damage the TMJ, causing increasing difficulties for the patient.
When TMJ problems occur, the body addresses unstable joints or bite imbalances by overcorrecting them, frequently leading to teeth grinding, jaw clenching, and muscle fatigue. All of this can result in pain throughout the head, neck, and shoulder areas. Other common TMJ disorder symptoms include:
- Sore jaw.
- Severely worn teeth.
- Clicking in the jaw.
- Headaches or migraines.
- Tension in the head and neck.
- Shoulder tightness.
- Pain behind the eyes.
- Cold-sensitive teeth.
- Tinnitus, ear pain, or vertigo.
In order to diagnose a TMJ disorder, an oral surgeon may use a variety of tools to examine the condition and function of the jaw, joint, muscles, and teeth. In addition to standard X-rays, surgeons have an array of additional state-of-the-art technology tools at their disposal to aid in diagnosis, such as:
- CBCT scan: Cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) systems use advance three-dimensional X-rays and capture the entire head and neck areas, providing a more complete picture for surgeons to determine whether a patient has a TMJ disorder.
- EMG: Using electromyography (EMG) allows the surgeon to measure the muscle activity in the head and neck area, focusing on stimulation in order to help determine the proper TMJ treatment.
- Joint vibration: Using sonography, joint vibration analysis allows the surgeon to listen to the joints for a better understanding of what is occurring in the joint and whether abnormalities exist.
- K7 jaw tracking: K7 jaw tracking shows the path a patient’s jaw takes when moving and where the jaw should rest for proper muscle positioning.
- TENS unit: Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy involves electrical pulses to stimulate muscle contractions in order to relax them, similar to a jaw massage to allow the surgeon to correct the jaw’s alignment.
- Arthroscopy: During an arthroscopy, the surgeon inserts a small thin tube into the joint space along with a tiny camera in order to gain a close-up view of the area and its functions.
If you are experiencing TMJ problems, an oral surgeon can help you determine the best treatment.
South Jersey Oral Surgeons at Lanzi Burke Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons Treat and Repair TMJ Conditions
TMJ problems are common in many patients for different reasons, causing pain, discomfort, and degenerative concerns. In such cases, patients may require specific treatments to correct the problem. Our South Jersey oral surgeons at Lanzi Burke Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons are experienced in surgical treatment. Call us at 856-582-4222 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Located in Washington Township, Haddonfield, and Woolwich Township, New Jersey, we are dedicated to helping patients throughout South Jersey.