When it comes to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) treatment, oral surgery is usually the last resort.
For many people who suffer from TMJ disorder, self-care strategies and conservative measures — such as trigger-point injections or wearing a stabilization splint to prevent nighttime tooth grinding — help to alleviate jaw pain, restore proper joint movement and put an end to other troublesome symptoms.
However, for some patients, these TMJ treatments fail to provide relief. In those cases, one of the oral surgery procedures listed below may be an effective solution.
Among the surgical TMJ treatment options, arthrocentesis is the least invasive option. As such, it also offers the quickest recovery — most patients are fully healed within a day or two.
This oral surgery involves irrigating the affected jaw joint with a sterile solution. This flushes the space, removing inflammatory chemicals and scar tissue. After the irrigation is complete, the oral surgeon may inject a lubricant or corticosteroid to allow for easier, pain-free joint movement.
Arthroscopy, or arthroscopic oral surgery, is the next least invasive surgical treatment for TMJ disorder. Healing from this procedure generally takes at least a week.
To perform an arthroscopy, the oral surgeon makes a small incision close to the ear and inserts a tiny camera into the affected joint, using a specialized surgical tool called an arthroscope. The images, which are projected to a video monitor, are used to guide the removal of any loose and inflamed joint tissues, and if necessary, to suture or properly realign the cushioning discs within the joint space.
Arthroplasty is the most complex type of surgical TMJ treatment. Unlike arthrocentesis and arthroscopy, this oral surgery is performed at a local hospital instead of in-office, as it usually requires general anesthesia. Healing from arthroplasty also takes longer than the less invasive options — patients typically need between two and six weeks to fully recover.
During an arthroplasty, the oral surgeon makes an incision along the ear to expose the joint space. This allows for the removal of bone spurs, adhesions and jaw growths that cause pain and range-of-motion problems.
Do you suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder? If conservative TMJ treatments just aren’t working to alleviate your symptoms and the condition is affecting your quality of life, oral surgery may be the answer.
To learn if surgical TMJ treatment is in your best interest, you’ll need to consult with a local oral surgeon with expertise in managing jaw-related facial conditions. If you live in east central Indiana, the professional team at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery can evaluate your jaw joint and determine your best approach to symptomatic relief.
As specialists in treating temporomandibular joint disorder, Dr. Partridge and Dr. Alderman have years of experience successfully helping patients throughout Wayne Township and Wayne County. For sound advice on whether oral surgery is the right TMJ treatment for you, contact Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery today.