TMJ Disorder Pain Management & Surgery

TMJ Disorder Pain Management & Surgery

TMJ Disorder is a disorder of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that hinges the upper and lower jaw to allow the mouth to open and close. When the muscles and ligaments around the joint do not work in unison, pain, clicking, uneven teeth wear, jaw misalignment, and other problems. Some individuals develop painful issues with the jaw leading to difficulty opening and closing the mouth.

Controlling Mild to Moderate TMJ Disorder Pain

If you are diagnosed with TMJ Disorder (sometimes called TMD), there are steps you can take to temporarily improve the range of motion and minimize the pain. These can be effective in mild cases of TMD that do not interfere with your daily life.

The goal of any TMJ treatment is to stop the muscle spasms that may be occurring and reduce inflammation in and around the joint. Among the treatment options for the mildest TMJ issues are anti-inflammatory medications and muscle relaxants. However, you need to follow proper at-home measures as well to keep the condition under control, including: 

  • Resting your jaw when possible
  • Recommended jaw exercises
  • Eating soft foods
  • Avoiding chewy snacks and gum
  • Using ice packs or warm compresses to soothe the area
  • Keeping your teeth slightly apart
  • Get lots of sleep, preferably on your back with your neck supported by pillows
  • Avoid cupping your chin or cheek in your hand to support it
  • Improve your posture
  • Try biofeedback or other relaxation techniques to reduce clenching of the jaw

Patients with moderate TMJ symptoms may also benefit from steroid injections into the temporomandibular joint.

Moderate to Severe TMJ Disorder Management

For moderate to severe TMJ issues, there are several treatment approaches. Drs. Chen and Black carefully evaluate all patients with TMJ Disorder to determine an effective but conservative treatment plan. This may include a mouth splint that keeps the teeth slightly parted, a night mouth guard or splint to prevent teeth grinding, or an appliance to realign the jaw by pulling it back into proper alignment. Night guards, splints, and appliances also prevent excessive teeth wear and minimize spasming and tightness in the muscles surrounding the TMJ joint.

Surgery is an Option for Severe TMJ Disorder

Drs. Black and Chen perform oral surgery on patients with TMJ problems only after all other treatment options have failed. Suppose your TMD has progressed to the point that your teeth do not fit together correctly, and you suffer from debilitating pain. In that case, TMJ surgery may be the best option. Two approaches to TMJ surgery are open joint repair reconstruction and less invasive arthroscopic surgery. Our surgeons will evaluate your pain level, how restricted your jaw movement is, and any signs of damage to the teeth. This helps us determine if surgery is right for you. In most cases, if the jaw no longer opens or is dislocated, surgery is the best option.

Do You Have TMJ Disorder?

If you suspect you have TMJ Disorder, we can evaluate the severity of your TMJ problem to determine the best treatment plan. This may include referral to an orthodontist or prosthodontist, physical therapy, or oral surgery. It is essential to begin treatment as early as possible to prevent the temporomandibular joint from deteriorating further, leading to greater pain, immobility, and other complications. If you have the following symptoms of TMD, contact our office at 212-593-2930. We will schedule an appointment with Dr. Black or Dr. Chen to evaluate the severity of your TMJ Disorder and develop a treatment plan.