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Glendale, AZ 85306

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Can Surgery Help TMJ?

TMJ, Oral Surgery, Glendale



Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMJD) is a group of problematic conditions affecting more than 10 million Americans according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. These conditions cause pain and dysfunction in the joints and muscles that control the movements of your jaw. Other common symptoms of TMJ include:

  • Popping or clicking of the joint
  • Stiffness in the joint and surrounding muscles
  • Limited joint movement
  • A grinding or grating sensation in the joint
  • Locking of the joint

In some cases, the symptoms are not isolated to the joint, and people with TMJ may experience ear pain, headaches, or pain that radiates down the neck and into the shoulders.

What Causes TMJ?

Although all the causes of TMJ are not currently known, the conditions are often associated with injury to the joint, such as from a sudden blow, and degenerative joint conditions like arthritis.

Bruxism, or clenching or grinding of the teeth, is also associated with TMJ. If you clench or grind your teeth, talk to your dentist about a night guard that may help treat this condition before it develops into TMJ.

TMJ occurs significantly more frequently in women, leading some researchers to believe that a hormonal component may be involved.

How Is TMJ Treated?

Treatment for TMJ depends on the severity of the condition. In milder cases, anti-inflammatories and ice may be enough to reduce the pain and inflammation. In more severe cases, however, an oral surgeon may be needed to treat the problem.

An oral surgeon should be consulted during diagnosis of TMJ. At Southwest Oral Surgery in Glendale, our surgeons are skilled and experienced in diagnosing and treating TMJ. We have state-of-the-art technology that allows us to view the joint and get a better idea of what is causing your pain and how best to treat it.

When possible, we’d prefer to use the most conservative route to treat your condition, and when this works, we’re glad. Unfortunately, conservative treatment is not always effective, and when this is the case, we may consider surgery.

Surgical procedures for TMJ include:

  • Arthrocentesis, in which a saline solution is used to flush the joint, improving lubrication and relieving inflammation.
  • Arthroscopy, which allows us to visualize the joint and loosen any scar tissue that may be inhibiting your range of motion.
  • Arthroplasty, an inpatient procedure that allows us to remove bone spurs and adhesions as well as suture or replace any problematic discs.
  • Total joint replacement, in which a prosthetic joint replaces your temporomandibular joint. In most cases, this will not be necessary and is only done when other measures have failed.

If you have questions about your TMJ or an upcoming procedure, don’t hesitate to contact our Glendale oral surgery practice at (623) 792-5794. Our goal is to improve the function of your joint while relieving your pain. 

AT (623) 792-5794

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