TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are a group of disorders related to your complex jaw joint. If you have had symptoms such as pain, locking or a “clicking” sound, you’ll be glad to know that these problems are more easily diagnosed and treated than they were in the past. Since some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important.
No one treatment can resolve TMJ disorders completely and treatment takes time to become effective. Dr. Klausner can help you have a healthier and more comfortable jaw.
Trouble With Your Jaw?
TMJ disorders develop for many reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth during the day or at night which causes tightening of your jaw muscles and stressing your TM joint. Or, you may have a damaged jaw joint due to injury or systemic disease such as arthritis. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking or grating noises when you open your mouth, or trouble opening your mouth wide.
Do You Have a TMJ Disorder?
- Are you aware of grinding or clenching your teeth?
- Do you wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaws?
- Do you have frequent headaches or neck aches?
- Does the pain get worse when you clench your teeth?
- Does stress make your clenching and pain worse?
- Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, or lock when you open your mouth?
- Is it difficult or painful to open your mouth, eat, or yawn?
- Have you ever injured your neck, head, or jaws?
- Have you had problems (such as arthritis) with other joints?
- Do you have teeth that no longer touch when you bite?
- Do your teeth meet differently from time to time?
- Is it hard to use your front teeth to bite or tear food?
- Are your teeth sensitive, loose, broken or worn?
The more times you answered “yes”, the more likely it is that you have a TMJ disorder. Understanding TMJ disorders will also help you understand how they are treated.
TMJ Diagnostic Studies may include the following:
- Mounted Study models
- Panoramic Radiographs
- Tomograms of the TMJ Region
- In office CBCT scans
- CT Scans
- MRI Scans
There are various treatment options that Dr. Klausner can utilize to improve the harmony and function of your jaw and the associated structures. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, Dr. Klausner will determine the proper course of treatment. The most common types of TMJ disorders are those involving the muscles and ligaments around the joint (myofascial pain) and those involving the structures within the joint itself (internal derangement and degenerative joint disease). It is important to note that treatment works best with a team approach which may include other dental specialists, physicians or physical therapists.
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Most patients who present for TMJ therapy can be successfully managed with conservative treatment which may include: rest, soft diet, physical therapy modalities, occlusal splint therapy and pain management. A small percentage of patients may be unresponsive to these measures, and may require surgical treatment.
Occlusal Splint Therapy
Certain patients may complain that they clench their jaws and grind their teeth. These symptoms are usually stress induced and occur at night in a vast majority of cases. An occlusal splint or “nightguard” can be fabricated to reduce muscular clenching and to decrease the stress that is transmitted the joint itself. A number of different splint designs can be utilized to treat a host of occlusally related TMJ disorders.
Surgical Treatment Modalities
This is an office based procedure performed with intravenous anesthesia. It is most commonly performed for cases of acute restricted jaw opening (“closed lock”) with no past significant TMJ history. The procedure involves inserting two small needles inside of the joint space, and washing our of the affected joint with sterile fluids. This procedure may allow for a “displaced disc” to resume a more physiologic position resulting in an increase in oral opening and a reduction in pain.
Arthroscopy of the temporomandibular joint is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed in the hospital setting under general anesthesia. Arthroscopy is indicated for intracapsular disorders of the joint such as a severe joint inflammation (synovitis) or displacement of the disc which has bee unresponsive to more conservative treatment. During the surgical procedure, Dr. Klausner can visualize the joint space in its entirety and release any adhesions which are responsible for a restriction of jaw function.
Open Joint Surgery
A small percentage of patients who present with TMJ disorders may continue to experience chronic joint pain or dysfunction and will have been unresponsive to prior conservative and surgical treatment. These patients may have diagnoses which include arthritis, non-reducing discs, a history of TMJ trauma or prior TMJ surgery. Selected surgical procedures can be performed by Dr. Klausner including disc repair or removal, disc replacement and partial TMJ reconstruction.