Temporomandibular dysfunction is a condition that can make the simplest actions of the day hard to tolerate. The temporomandibular joint, TMJ, is what connects the face to the lower jawbone. It’s a hinge joint and can move down, up, and a little bit to each side. We each have 2 TMJs.
At Andover Cosmetic Dental Group in Andover, MA, we see patients with TMD weekly. We have all the latest knowledge of the condition and how to treat it. There are different ways of treating TMD, so don’t be surprised if your treatment plan is different from someone else’s who also has TMD.
What exactly causes TMD isn’t known. It’s argued that people get TMD for different reasons. At Andover Cosmetic Dental Group, we notice that some patients get it after trauma to the face like after a fall. Others exert a lot of pressure on their TMJs by grinding their teeth at night or constantly clenching their jaws.
In some situations, the cause can’t be identified. Degeneration of the soft tissues and bones in the joint can happen spontaneously and without an obvious trigger. Whether or not an obvious cause is found, we’ll help you get through your TMD.
Painkillers are the first drugs we usually start with. Other treatment options can take a long time to work, but in the meantime, it’s important to give patients something to take the pain away.
Patients suffering from a locked jaw may benefit from joint aspiration. In joint aspiration, we stick a needle in the joint and aspirate the fluid. This can relieve the tension, and the fluid we collect can be analyzed in a lab.
Arthroscopy and open surgery are more drastic treatment methods. The benefit arthroscopy has over open surgery is that the incision made is much smaller. The surgery is associated with better cosmetic outcomes and, usually, shorter hospital stays. Unfortunately, arthroscopy isn’t always doable, and we need to perform open surgery. If you are experiencing pain in your jaw, give us a call to schedule an appointment today!