The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw and the skull. When this joint is damaged or injured, it may cause a localized pain known as the temporomandibular joint syndrome or TMJ. This dysfunction occurs when the joint is subjected to an abnormal pressure. The degree of damage is dependent on the amount of force exerted on the temporomandibular joint.
Some of the causes of this syndrome include poor posture, teeth grinding, gum chewing, stress, arthritis, or injury to the teeth. Surgeons and other specialists discovered a way of helping people with this syndrome through jaw surgery. Discussed in this article the symptoms of the disorder and how jaw surgery can help treat TMJ.
Signs and Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome:
- Stiff or sore jaw muscles
- Locking of the jaw joint
- Pain in the temple area
- Pain in the jaw joint
- Jaw popping and clicking
Home remedies like putting an ice pack on the joint, gentle stretches or massages of the neck, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, stress reduction, or avoiding chewing gum have been used for quite a significant period. These methods tend to work for some people, but not others. In such cases, medical treatment options like jaw surgery are considered.
In what situations is Jaw Surgery Ideal in Management of Temporomandibular Syndrome
Different Growth Rate of the Jaws
Sometimes, TMJ is caused by the growth of jaws at different rates. Ideally, both the upper and lower jaws should grow at the same rate. When one grows faster, it can cause misalignment, which in turn, will result in a painful temporomandibular joint. In such a case, surgery is recommended as other treatment options may only relieve the problem temporarily.
A surgeon will conduct various tests and decide which jaw to work on. An operation on the jaws will offer a permanent solution to the dysfunction. It will also add aesthetic value such as improve the quality of your smile or even enhance your facial structure.
Crooked or misaligned teeth can also result in temporomandibular joint syndrome. The misalignment can stress the jaws, causing pain in the joint connecting your skull and jaw. Some people opt for braces in such a case, but this method takes longer to yield results. Another disadvantage of using braces to correct misaligned teeth is that it can weaken them and even make it unbearable to eat.
Operating on the jaw to align your teeth, on the other hand, is a procedure that takes some hours to perform, and the healing process will also be fast when compared to wearing braces for a lengthy period. Having a jaw surgery to treat TMJ by aligning your teeth will even give you a good bite and improve your smile.
Jaw Pain when Chewing Food and Bad Breath
Sometimes temporomandibular joint syndrome brings about complications such as bad breath and even making it impossible for you to feed. Over-the-counter drugs may help relieve the pain while mints can help with the bad breath, but only temporarily. You have to take them regularly to keep the symptoms at bay. A permanent solution is, however, much better.
A jaw surgery will help alleviate the pain, making feeding time a much better experience. You will also be able to nourish your body with the right foods, and bad breath will not be a problem anymore. The jaw operation will help boost your confidence as you will be able to talk to and eat together with other people without getting worried.
Headaches tend to interfere with a person’s daily activities, and this can affect their performance or efficiency. It is even worse in cases where the headache is persistent for days. If the cause of a chronic headache is TMJ, jaw surgery will help get rid of your problem. Before settling on this procedure, make sure all other medical means are not helpful in your case because surgery is usually considered as the last option.
Undergoing a jaw operation to treat temporomandibular joint syndrome will improve the quality of your life. This is because you will be able to go on with your various activities without being interrupted by pain in your head.
Although some people still doubt the fact that surgery can treat TMJ, there are many more who are benefiting from it. The key here is finding the right doctor who has certain qualities.
Factors to Consider When Selecting a Doctor to do a Jaw Surgery
The more similar operations a surgeon has done, the better a choice they are. Here, experience means they understand all the things that may go wrong during the process, what to do, and what not to do. An experienced surgeon is also confident in their work and will talk you through the procedure beforehand while assuring you that all will be well.
You will feel at peace when you know your doctor is well-equipped to perform the surgery. The chances of errors occurring will also be minimal, so no matter what they charge, you know the results will be worth it.
Before such a process is done, you have to meet the surgeon for a physical examination. You might also be asked to produce current scans of the joint. These meetings are crucial because they will enable the specialist to understand the underlying problem and also decide, together with their team, which process will be best for you. Because of these appointments, you will need to work with a surgeon who operates in your area. If possible, you can also relocate to a location that is closer to your doctor temporarily.
Another reason your surgeon’s availability is critical, is you will need to go for regular checkups after the operation. These appointments will help your doctor keep track of your progress and also ensure you are healing as expected.
Dr. Marissa Cruz, DMD is a renowned dental specialist and periodontist offering comprehensive dental services in King of Prussia, PA.