Over 10 million Americans are affected by a TMJ disorder. TMJ is a condition that occurs because of problems associated with the jaw, jaw joints or associated muscles. These issues can affect one’s ability to chew, talk and even yawn. At the Los Angeles Jaw Surgery Center of Excellence, our TMJ doctors specialize in treating TMJ disorders and performing TMJ surgery and other treatments to correct problems with the jaw.
What is TMD?
TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, occurs because of problems with the jaw, the joints in the jaw and the facial muscles controlling moving and chewing in the jaw. The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ joint, connects to the mandible and the skull’s temporal bone. This allows patients to talk, yawn and chew properly. TMJ disorder is also referred to as TMJ.
What Causes TMD?
The causes of TMD are not completely understood, but most symptoms result from problems associated with the muscles of the jaw or the joint. TMD is more common in women than men, especially between 20 and 40 years old. TMD can be caused by injuries like whiplash or a heavy blow. Other typical causes of TMJ or TMD include:
- Clenching or grinding of the teeth.
- Dislocation of the disc in between the socket and ball of the jaw.
- Rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis in the temporoandibular joint.
- Stress, which causes tightened and spasming facial or jaw muscles.
Many TMJ sufferers experience severe pain or discomfort, which may be temporary or long-term. The following are the most common symptoms of TMJ:
- Facial pain and tenderness
- Pain in the jaw joint
- Pain in the neck, shoulders, or ear area
- Inability to open the mouth fully
- Jaw locked or stuck in the closed or open position
- Popping or clicking while opening or closing the mouth
- Tired feeling in the face
- Difficulty or discomfort when chewing
- Facial swelling on one or both sides of the face
- Toothaches, headaches or other pain in the neck area
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to address them as soon as possible so TMJ does not create additional problems. Pain and discomfort from TMJ can create unwanted stress in one’s life. At the Jaw Surgery Center of Excellence, we have TMJ specialists in Los Angeles who perform surgery for severe TMJ and administer treatment for TMJ pain.
TMJ Disorder Treatment and TMJ Surgery in Los Angeles
Whether you have mild, moderate or severe TMD, there are different treatment options to alleviate your temporomandibular joint dysfunction. By knowing what your options are, you can successfully determine the best way to treat your TMD and find relief from TMJ problems.
Basic treatment for TMD can include applying cold packs or moist heat to your face where there is swelling. Simple exercises can stretch the jaw and jaw muscles, providing TMJ relief if done regularly.
If you feel mild pain, soft foods can help as well as taking certain medications like Advil for pain relief. Other simple actions like avoiding jaw movements that are extreme and utilizing relaxation techniques will help with pain and swelling in the jaw area.
TMJ surgery can treat severe problems and is a highly effective option for TMJ sufferers. There are several types of TMJ surgeries including:
- TMJ Arthrocentesis: Minor procedure for sudden-onset and closed lock-jaw cases. This involves injecting needles into the affected area of the joint, which is then washed out with fluids. General anesthesia is used during this procedure.
- TMJ Arthroscopy: An orthognathic surgeon will create an incision after administering general anesthesia. The incision is small and is located around the front part of the ear. An instrument is inserted which allows the surgeon to see in a video the TMJ area. Inflamed tissue may be removed, and the disc between the ball and socket may be realigned.
- Open-joint TMJ Surgery: In contrast to TMJ arthroscopy, the whole area surrounding the TMJ is analyzed and opened for a better view in this method. This treatment can be necessary for patients with tumors or severe cases of TMJ.
Contact the Best TMJ Specialist in Los Angeles
If you experience pain and discomfort from TMJ, schedule a consultation with one of our TMJ specialists. TMJ is a stressful and bothersome disorder that can create other problems with your health, so it’s best to find out what the best possible treatment is for you. You can schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified TMJ specialists by calling (888) 391-3205 or by filling our website contact form.
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