Monthly Archives: October 2019

TMJ surgeon in east central Indianapolis

TMJ Treatment – Options to Relieve TMJ Pain & Restore Function

Do you suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder? For patients in need of TMJ treatment, oral surgeons may recommend several strategies.

The exact cause of TMJ is not well-understood, and the factors involved may differ from patient to patient. Therefore, no single TMJ treatment approach is effective for everyone.

What will it take to relieve your TMJ pain and restore your jaw function? Chances are, one or more types of treatment may be necessary.

Self-Care Strategies for TMJ Treatment

TMJ surgeon in east central Indianapolis

For some patients with TMJ pain and issues with jaw joint dysfunction, simple lifestyle changes and home remedies can provide relief.

When you visit an oral surgeon for temporomandibular joint disorder treatment, you will likely receive the following advice:

  • Take small bites, without opening your mouth wide
  • Skip eating foods that are hard, crunchy or chewy
  • Cut caffeine and alcohol out of your diet
  • Refrain from smoking or using tobacco
  • Reduce your stress levels, taking more time to relax

In addition, your oral surgeon may recommend that you eat only soft foods when your TMJ pain is at its worst. Gently stretching or massaging the jaw and neck muscles may also help relieve TMJ pain and restore joint mobility.

Conservative TMJ Treatment Options

Though self-care strategies can be effective for some patients, many require further treatment for TMJ pain and jaw joint problems.

Conservative therapies oral surgeons recommend to treat temporomandibular joint disorder include:

  • Heat or ice applied to the affected side of the face
  • A mouthguard or stabilization splint to stop teeth grinding and clenching
  • Non-steroidal ant-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like naproxen or ibuprofen
  • Prescription muscle relaxant medication
  • Trigger-point injections of anesthetic or pain medication
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) with a low current

Surgical TMJ Treatment Solutions

When the above-mentioned strategies and treatments fail to relieve TMJ pain, oral surgery may be the recommended approach.

If your TMJ pain persists and you continue to suffer problems with jaw joint dysfunction, you may be a candidate for one of these three surgical procedures:

  • Arthrocentesis — A minimally invasive form of treatment, arthrocentesis involves flushing the joint space with a sterile solution, and in some cases, injecting a corticosteroid or lubricant to enable easier, pain-free movement.
  • Arthroscopy — A more complex surgical procedure, arthroscopy involves the use of a tiny fiber optic camera, which is inserted into the jaw joint through a small incision by the ear. Images projected to a video monitor allow the oral surgeon to remove loose or inflamed tissues, and if necessary, to realign or suture the articular discs.
  • Arthroplasty — An open-joint surgery, arthroplasty is the most complex method of TMJ treatment. As such, oral surgeons usually reserve the procedure for patients who have structural problems in the jaw joint.

If temporomandibular joint disorder is affecting your quality of life, the professional team at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery can find an effective treatment approach.

As specialists in treating jaw-related facial conditions, Dr. Partridge and Dr. Alderman have years of experience successfully helping patients suffering from TMJ pain and jaw joint dysfunction. If you live in the greater east central Indiana area and need TMJ treatment, contact Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery today.

Oral cancer screening in central Indiana

Oral Pathology — Signs & Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Anytime you spot a change in your mouth, you should schedule an oral pathology screening. But don’t jump to conclusions and assume oral cancer is the cause — that may not be the case.

Abnormalities in the mouth tissues can be cancerous, but benign conditions can also create lesions and unusual sores. A professional exam done by an expert in pathological conditions can determine the cause of your mouth irregularity. If oral cancer is the cause, you can quickly get treatment and improve your odds of beating the disease.

Non-Cancerous Oral Pathology Conditions

Oral cancer screening in central Indiana

Changes in the mouth can be the result of a range of pathological conditions. If you see a strange spot on your gums, lips, tongue, palate or cheeks, it may be one of these common pathologies:

  • Canker sores, brought about by stress, sensitivity, injury, dietary deficiency or allergic response
  • Cold sores or fever blisters attributable to the herpes simplex virus
  • Thrush, a fungal infection that affects those with compromised immune systems
  • Fibromas, benign tumors caused by irritation or injury to the tissues
  • Benign bone tumors, triggered by hormones that stimulate growth

Sometimes, pathological conditions aren’t to blame for lesions and sores. Aspirin, beta-blockers, sulfa drugs and other medications can cause irregularities in mouth tissues.

Signs & Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Although many different oral pathology conditions and medications can lead to mouth abnormalities, so can oral cancer. If you notice any of the following, you may have a cancerous growth:

  • Red, white or discolored patches
  • Lesions that aren’t healing on their own
  • Rough spots, lumps or thickened tissues
  • Sores that bleed when touched
  • Numbness anywhere inside the mouth
  • Prolonged hoarseness or sore throat
  • Difficulty moving the tongue or swallowing
  • Feeling as if something is caught in the throat

Oral cancer is highly treatable when caught early on. If you’re concerned about your symptoms, schedule an immediate oral pathology screening.

Diagnosing Oral Pathology

A professional screening starts with a thorough visual and physical examination of the mouth tissues, jaw and neck.

If the cause of an abnormality is in question, doctors may advise a second screening, scheduled a few weeks later. Or a range of advanced diagnostic tests may be recommended. Exfoliative cytology, toluidine blue staining, fluorescence visualization and brush biopsy are among the procedures that can confirm or rule out an oral cancer diagnosis.

Periodic professional screenings can help protect your oral health. If your last exam was several months ago — or if you see a change in the appearance or feel of the tissues in your mouth — make an appointment at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Dr. Partridge and Dr. Alderman, our board-certified surgeons, have more than a decade of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of both non-cancerous pathological conditions and oral cancer. For more information on our services, or to schedule a professional oral pathology screening, contact us today.