TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT (TMJ):
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a small joint located in front of the ear where the skull and lower jaw meet. It permits the lower jaw (mandible) to move and function.
Therefore, we all have 2 TMJ‘s, however when the joints are causing discomfort, TMD may be the cause.
What is Temporomandibular Disease(TMD)?
TMD can be broken down into two fundamental conditions:
1) Muscular disorder:
Where related symptoms and jaw dysfunction are primarily a result of muscular spasm in the muscles of jaw function, also called myofascial pain dysfunction or MPD.
2) Anatomical disorder:
Whose symptoms and dysfunction result predominantly from anatomical dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Basically, called Internal Derangement because the gears or parts of the joint do not work smoothly or in harmony with one another.
Both conditions present with very similar symptoms which can include but are not necessarily limited to the following: jaw pain, difficulty with jaw opening, earaches, headaches, pain behind the eyes, jaw joint popping and clicking, dizziness and difficulty chewing food or closing your teeth together.
Some treatment options:
- Jaw rest
- Muscle relaxants and/or anti-inflammatory medication
- A bite splint or night guard
- If your bite is the cause of your TMD, sometimes orthodontic treatment can aid in your recovery
- Surgery-if all other modalities fail, this may be your best solution
TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT (TMJ) SURGERY:
Even though surgery should not be thought of lightly, surgery can be tremendous relief if you are suffering from intractable anatomical disease or internal derangement (when the discs of our joints are functioning improperly).
Surgery can take many forms including:
Arthroscopic Surgery – A procedure performed through a small instrument with a tiny camera attached to loosen some stickiness in the joint or in some cases reposition a displaced disc.
Open Arthroplasty – A procedure performed by making an incision most often in a skin crease as in a facelift. This procedure is normally aimed at repairing or repositioning a displaced disc but sometimes can result in disc removal (menisectomy).
Total Joint Replacement – This procedure is reserved for more severe and chronic conditions that will not respond to other surgical treatment modalities.
Dr. Casey is trained and skilled at all TMJ surgical modalities. Based on your medical and clinical exam and X-rays your treatment options can be thoroughly discussed and explained.