Can you use surgery to treat TMJ disorder?

Dr. Hoss Abar

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The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge joint connecting your jawbone to your skull. It allows your jaw to move and speak, chew, and do other things with your mouth. A TMJ disorder causes pain, stiffness, or lack of mobility in your TMJ, preventing you from using the full range of motion of your jaw. Treatments such as oral splints or mouthguards do not help to reduce the severity of your symptoms. However, surgery can treat severe symptoms of TMJ disorder. Moreover, some people also require surgery to regain full use of their TMJ. There are many types of TMJ surgery, and your doctor will recommend the type of surgery depending on your specific case.


Candidate for TMJ Surgery


Your doctor may recommend TMJ surgery if:


  • You experience consistent severe pain when you open or close your mouth.
  • It is difficult for you to open or close your mouth entirely.
  • You have difficulty eating or drinking due to jaw pain or immobility.
  • Your pain worsens even with other nonsurgical treatments.
  • You have specific structural issues or diseases in your jaw joint.


Types of TMJ Surgery




Arthrocentesis involves injecting fluid into a joint. The liquid washes away any chemical byproducts of inflammation and helps to relieve the pressure that causes the joint to stiffen or hurt. This surgery can assist you in regaining some of the range of motion in your jaw.


Furthermore, this surgery is a non-invasive procedure. The recovery period is brief, and the success rate is high. Moreover, Arthrocentesis is typically used as a first-line treatment because it is less invasive and has a higher success rate than some more complicated procedures.




Arthroscopy is performed by making one or more tiny incisions in the skin above the joint.


A thin tube cannula is then put into the opening and the joint. Your surgeon will next insert an arthroscope through the cannula. The arthroscope is a technology that uses light and a camera to see your joint.


Once everything is set up, your surgeon may operate on the joint using tiny surgical tools put through the cannula. Arthroscopy is less intrusive than traditional open surgery. Therefore recovery time is faster, generally several days to a week.


Open joint surgery


Open-joint surgery entails making a few inches-long incisions over the joint so that your healthcare professional may operate on the joint itself.


This form of TMJ surgery is for severe TMJ disorders that include:


  • A lot of tissue or bone development prevents the joint from moving
  • Fusion of joint tissue, cartilage, or bone
  • Difficulty in accessing the common with arthroscopy


Your surgeon can remove bony growths or extra tissue with open-joint surgery. Although open surgery requires more recovery time than arthroscopic surgery, the success rate remains excellent.


Are there any risks related to TMJ surgery?


The most common TMJ surgery complications are:


  • Damage to adjacent tissue, such as the bottom of the skull, blood vessels, or anatomy connected to your hearing
  • infections around the surgical site during or after surgery
  • chronic discomfort or restricted range of motion
  • Frey syndrome is an uncommon condition of the parotid glands (near your TMJ) that produces abnormal face sweating.




If your jaw discomfort or sensitivity is interfering with your life or preventing you from eating or drinking, see your healthcare provider or dentist as soon as possible. Furthermore, if nonsurgical therapies, drugs, or lifestyle changes relieve your TMJ pain, you may not require surgery. Surgery is the last option in the most severe cases and does not guarantee a cure.


Therefore, inform your doctor if more conservative therapies aren't working or if your symptoms are worsening.


Contact your dentist in Walnut Creek today, Dr. Massood Darvishzadeh, MDS at Abar Orthodontics to know more about TMJ Surgery.




TMJ Disorder – How To Tell?


This media/content or any other on this website does not prescribe, recommend, or prevent any treatment or procedure. Therefore, we highly recommend that you get the advice of a qualified dentist or other medical practitioners regarding your specific dental condition.

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