TMJ is the Temporomandibular joint which connects jaw to the skull. This joint is responsible for opening and closing of the mouth as well as side to side movements of the jaw. Any group of disorders that cause disruption in the chewing system including the teeth, jaw muscles, jaw joint or the jaw bone are termed as temporomandibular joint disorders.
Difficulty in opening and closing of mouth, pain or tenderness during jaw movement, difficulty in chewing, pain in and around the ear, facial pain, muscle spasms around the jawline, deviation on opening, crepitus, limited opening, painful opening, locking of the joint or popping sound on mouth opening are some of the symptoms indicative of temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
There are number of treatment options available for TMJ pain relief ranging from certain medications in case of mild cases to surgery for extremely severe cases. Some of the treatment options used for mild to moderate cases are as follows:
Over the counter Medication: Certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory can provide relief from muscle pain and swelling.
Application of moist heat or ice packs: Application of moist heat using a warm washcloth or ice pack on the side of the face where the pain is felt can reduce the swelling and relief from the jaw pain.
Splint or night guard: These are custom made plastic trays which fit over your upper and lower teeth in order to prevent them from coming in contact. Thus, they make it difficult for you to clench or grind your teeth and thereby help to treat patients with TMD.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): This treatment uses low-level of electrical currents to relaxing the jaw joint and facial muscles, thereby relieving the pain.
Biostimulation: This procedure uses laser which is found to provide temporary relief from the jaw pain. We have incorporated the latest laser BIOLASE into our clinic. This laser penetrates deep into the tissues and provides therapeutic warmth to cease the minor pain and discomfort in the joint.
Trigger-point or Botox injections: Anaesthesia is injected into facial muscles called “trigger points” while botox is injected into the jaw muscles used for chewing to relieve the jaw pain.
Surgery is often the last resort when other treatment options fail. It is used to treat severe cases of temporo-mandibular joint disorders, which are not resolved using the above treatment options. At Teeth Care Centre®, we have highly qualified and skilled oral and maxillofacial surgeon who is well versed with temporo-mandibular joint disorders and only deal with TMD treatment. Our dental professionals do the thorough diagnosis of your case using temporo-mandibular joint arthroscopy (Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic procedure performed using an arthroscope, which has a lens light and video screen attached to it). This enables us to examine your joint and design a suitable treatment plan. Following are some of the surgical approaches undertaken to treat severe cases of temporo-mandibular joint disorders.
Arthrocentesis: It is the procedure used in cases of locked jaw wherein needle are inserted into the joint in order to irrigate the jaw joint and flush out debris and inflammatory products.
Open-joint arthroplasty: It is a surgical procedure used to repair, reposition, replace, or remove parts of temporo-mandibular joint. Open joint arthroplasty is done in situations when the jaw pain doesn’t resolve with other treatment approaches.
Total joint replacement: In case of severe joint deterioration of TMJ commonly observed in arthritis, more extensive surgical process is needed to treat the condition. In this surgery joint is replaced with pre-fabricated or customised TMJ prosthesis called total joint replacement.