If you’re experiencing persistent jaw pain or discomfort, earaches, and pain in other areas of the face, you may be suffering from temporomandibular joint disorder, commonly referred to as TMJ or TMD, named for the offending joint — the temporomandibular joint located at the back of the jawline near the bottom of the ear.
The temporomandibular joint plays a large role in the function of your mouth. This joint connects the mandible, or lower jaw, to the temporal bone, a part of your skull. It’s the joint that you use to open and close your mouth. The cause of TMD is not known, but it’s suspected that hereditary factors and stress may be contributors. What we do know is that the position and function of this joint make it extremely susceptible to the development of joint disorders. TMJ disorders can make chewing difficult or impossible without excruciating pain, and patients sometimes experience a locked joint, making it even more difficult to open and close the mouth.
Thankfully, temporomandibular joint disorders can be treated with nonsurgical therapy as well as surgical intervention by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. If self-care alone is unable to successfully relieve your TMJ pain, you may be recommended for a surgical procedure to treat the problem. Treating a TMJ disorder surgically will in most cases provide you with a long-term solution that reduces pain and discomfort.
The surgeons at Avon Oral, Facial and Dental Implant Surgery are highly experienced in diagnosing and treating disorders of the temporomandibular joint. Specialty training in the restoration of oral and facial function gives our doctors unique insight and experience into TMJ therapies. If you experience persistent pain or you can’t open or close your mouth completely, you may have a TMJ disorder. Please contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our oral surgeons to learn more about TMJ therapies and find out if you are a candidate for surgical treatment.