Monthly Archives: February 2020

How is TMJ treated

The First Step in TMJ Treatment

If you suffer from pain and dysfunction in the jaw, you may have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. And though the condition can be temporary, TMJ treatment may become necessary if your symptoms persist.

At Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, we’ve found that many patients with chronic jaw pain and stiffness in the temporomandibular joints aren’t sure where to turn for relief or what TMJ treatment involves.

How is TMJ treated

Talk to an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

To get on the path to pain relief and jaw functionality, your first step is to schedule a consultation with a local oral surgeon — and no, this doesn’t mean you’re going to need oral surgery.

Like other health care professionals, oral surgeons look at surgical procedures as the last course of action in TMJ treatment, only an option when other measures fail to alleviate symptoms. But unlike your family doctor and dentist, oral surgeons are experts in diagnosing and treating facial conditions. So a local oral and maxillofacial surgery practice is the best place to go for a confirmation of your suspected case of TMJ disorder.

Start with Simple TMJ Treatment Tricks

If your oral surgeon diagnoses you with TMJ disorder, you’ll leave the office armed with simple strategies that may help alleviate your pain and restore your jaw function. For some patients, making the following efforts can eliminate the need for further TMJ treatment:

  • Taking smaller bites to keep from opening the mouth wide
  • Refraining from eating chewy, crunchy and hard foods
  • Choosing soft foods when jaw pain is at its worst
  • Avoiding alcohol and beverages that contain caffeine
  • Steering clear of smoking and not using other forms of tobacco
  • Gently massaging and stretching the jaw and neck muscles
  • Reducing stress and taking more time to rest and relax

Consider Conservative TMJ Treatment Therapies

The strategies listed above can help alleviate the symptoms of TMJ disorder, but many patients with the condition require additional treatment. Oral surgeons recommend several conservative therapies, including:

  • Ice packs or warm packs applied to the face and temporomandibular joint area
  • Ibuprofen, naproxen or other over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Mouthguards or stabilization splints, worn at night to prevent tooth grinding
  • Trigger-point injections of anesthetic and/or pain medication into the jaw joint
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) with a low-level current
  • Prescription muscle relaxant medication to reduce jaw stiffness and encourage mobility

If none of these provides you with pain relief and improved jaw functionality, oral surgery could be the next step — but that’s not something you should worry about now. First, you need to schedule a TMJ consultation with an experienced local oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

For expert care and advice on TMJ disorder, patients in the greater east central Indiana area should rely on the professional team at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Contact our office and make an appointment to discuss TMJ treatment today.

Consultation for oral surgery

What Happens During an Oral Surgeon Consultation?

Has your dentist referred you to an oral surgeon?

Whether you’re in need of wisdom teeth removal, bone grafting, dental implants, corrective jaw surgery or any other oral or maxillofacial procedure, you might not be looking forward to your first consultation. And that’s OK — many people become anxious at the idea of visiting an oral surgeon.

If you’re feeling nervous, knowing what will happen during your appointment can help put your mind at ease. Here’s a general look at how consultations go here at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Consultation for oral surgery

Medical and Oral Health History

Your dentist likely sent over a referral, but your oral surgeon will want more specific information about your current and past oral health issues. You’ll also be asked for a complete medical history, including details on drug allergies, previous surgeries and current health conditions. The treatment team will also need to know about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you take.

Be thorough, as the medical and oral health information you provide is crucial to planning your treatment, minimizing potential risks and avoiding surgical complications.

Examination and Diagnostic Imaging

Next, your oral surgeon will perform an examination, visually inspecting your mouth, teeth, gums and jaw to better understand your oral health situation.

You may also need diagnostic imaging tests, as X-rays and CT scans provide clear, three-dimensional pictures that are quite helpful in planning and performing oral and maxillofacial procedures. Your surgeon may also require a dental impression of one or both jaws, which simply involves you biting down on a special tray for a few minutes.

Treatment Plan Discussion

Once your oral surgeon has all the diagnostic information, they’ll decide what approach to take for your treatment.

You’ll sit down with your surgeon to discuss the details, including how to prepare for your procedure and what you can expect the recovery to be like. At this point, you’ll also go over your sedation and anesthesia options. Complex oral and maxillofacial surgeries may require general anesthesia, but in most cases, patients are able to choose the sedation method they prefer.

Helpful Tips for Your First Oral Surgeon Consultation

To ensure your consultation goes as smoothly as possible, take a little time to prepare for the appointment. We recommend that you:

  • Make a list of questions for your oral surgeon, as having them in writing means you’ll be less likely to forget about addressing certain concerns.
  • Ask your dentist for a copy of the referral information — in case the surgeon’s office hasn’t received it — as well as your X-rays, if your dentist took any.
  • Bring your medical and dental insurance information and your list of medications — with dosages — when you come in for your consultation

The professional team at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery wants you to feel confident about your upcoming treatment. We’ve been helping patients in the greater east central Indiana area for over a decade, and we look forward to restoring the health and beauty of your smile.

To learn more about the treatment team at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery or to schedule an oral surgeon consultation, contact us today.