Ease Jaw Pain and Restore Proper Jaw Function
Each person has a temporomandibular joint on each side of their face in front of the ears. This joint connects the jaw bone to the skull and functions like a hinge, enabling the jaw to open and close and allowing you to eat and speak. Excessive strain on the muscles that control the temporomandibular joint can cause painful TMJ disorders and limit mobility.
At Alfi Oral, Dental Implant & Facial Surgery, our oral surgeons offer a variety of treatments for TMJ disorders that help ease pain and restore proper jaw function. If you are experiencing jaw joint pain or other symptoms associated with TMJ disorders, please contact our office in Houston, TX, today.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
TMJ disorders can be caused by a combination of factors such as genetics, injury, or arthritis. Clenching or grinding your teeth (bruxism) can also cause jaw pain. These symptoms can be severe and last for many years or be temporary with minor discomfort. In many cases nonsurgical treatment or self-managed care can relieve pain. Surgery is reserved for patients who do not respond to conservative measures and typically used as a last resort. Common signs and symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Tenderness or pain in the face, jaw area, neck, and shoulders when you chew, speak, or open your mouth
- Jaws that “lock” or get stuck, making it difficult to open your mouth
- Clicking or popping sounds in the ears when opening or closing your mouth
- Difficulty and discomfort when chewing
If you can not completely open your jaw without persistent pain or tenderness you should be evaluated by a TMJ specialist like the doctors at Alfi Oral, Dental Implant & Facial Surgery. Our experts can discuss possible treatments and causes for the problems you’re experiencing and help alleviate your pain.
Treatment for TMJ Disorders
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons specialize in facial anatomy and are highly qualified in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ disorders. We offer a variety of effective nonsurgical and at-home treatments to manage symptoms as well as surgical options for more severe cases. Prior to undergoing any treatment, you will meet with one of our oral surgeons for a consultation, where we will perform a thorough oral examination, take 3D scans to assess the jaw joint, and discuss your options for anesthesia and sedation.
Minimally Invasive Treatment Options
Identifying the cause of your TMJ issues may require a procedure called an arthrocentesis. During this procedure, your doctor will insert a cannula (a small, thin tube) into the open space in the joint and use an arthroscope (camera) to view the area and help determine a diagnosis. Other nonsurgical treatments include:
- Pain relievers and anti-inflammatories. Over-the-counter pain medications can be helpful in relieving TMJ pain, but if they are not enough, your doctor may prescribe stronger pain relievers for a limited time.
- Oral splints or mouth guards. Wearing a soft or firm device over your upper and lower teeth so they do not touch can keep teeth in the correct position and prevent clenching and grinding. Night guards are worn while you sleep while splints are used all the time.
- Trigger-point injections. Corticosteroid or BOTOX® injections to facial muscles or “trigger points” can relax the muscles of the jaw and provide pain relief.
Types of Anesthesia
There are a variety of anesthesia and sedation options available at our practice.
Surgical Procedures for TMJ Disorders
If conventional methods have been unsuccessful, we offer surgical procedures that can be helpful in relieving chronic pain and discomfort caused by TMJ disorders. These options are reserved for patients who have structural damage or genetic defects causing their TMJ issues. The two most common surgical procedures are:
- Arthroscopy. During this procedure, your surgeon will make a small incision in front of your ear (about the size of a button) and insert a narrow tube with a fiber-optic video camera attached. The camera will display the inside of your joint on a high-definition monitor, so they can evaluate your joint and the surrounding area. Patients may have a small scar but normally experience very few complications.
- Open-joint surgery. Dr. Alfi has revolutionized this surgery by using virtual surgical planning and an intraoral surgical technique. All incisions are made on the inside of the mouth leaving the patient without any visible scars on their face. Once the jaw joint is exposed, detailed surgical guides are used to repair, reposition, replace, or remove parts of the joint. Patients who undergo this procedure experience dramatic aesthetic results and drastically reduced recovery times.
The doctors at Alfi Oral, Dental Implant & Facial Surgery have years of experience in the diagnosis of TMJ disorders and will put together a customized treatment plan based on your unique needs. We take pride in providing our patients with superior care they can trust and depend on. If you or someone you care for is suffering from the effects of a TMJ disorder contact our office in Houston, TX, to make an appointment so we can help you begin to find relief.
TMJ Specialist in Houston, TX
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