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Oral Surgery to Treat TMJ

man with mouth painYour mouth is made up of many working parts. These parts all work together to allow you to perform a number of different important tasks. Your temporomandibular joints are responsible for the movement of your jaw, allowing you to open and close your mouth as well as move your lower jaw from side to side. When healthy, these joints work with ease. If they become irritated, inflamed, or injured, though, even the smallest movements of your mouth can become difficult and painful. There are many treatments for your temporomandibular joints. If surgical treatment is required, Pacific Oral & Facial Surgery Center can help.

What is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorder is a term that refers to a number of different issues that affect the health and functioning of your temporomandibular joints. This condition is also sometimes simply referred to as TMJ. When you have TMJ, even the smallest movements of your mouth can become difficult and painful. You might soon find it difficult to eat, speak, or even open your mouth at all.

Causes of TMJ Disorder

There several issues that can cause TMJ disorder. These include
•  Facial trauma.
•  Jaw dislocation.
•  Bruxism, or grinding and clenching.
•  Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.

How Do I Know if I Have TMJ Disorder?

There are many symptoms that can point toward TMJ disorder. Many of these symptoms start off very mild, barely noticeable. You might never even know that anything is wrong. Over time, however, the symptoms worsen, leading to difficulty moving your mouth and severe pain. Symptoms of TMJ include
•  Pain in your jaw, your face, and even in your neck and shoulders.
•  Swelling in your face near the joints.
•  Difficulty and pain eating and speaking.
•  Temporary lockjaw.
•  Sensations in your jaw that sound or feel like clicking, popping, or grinding.
•  Headaches or earaches.

Surgical Treatments for TMJ

A thorough oral exam helps to diagnose TMJ disorder. There are many treatments available. The type of treatment you receive depends upon the cause of your TMJ disorder and its severity. In many cases, TMJ disorder can be treated non-invasively. However, in cases of more severe TMJ or when no non-surgical treatments have proven effective, the next step is surgery. There are a few different surgical procedures that may be performed. These procedures include
•  Arthrocentesis. Arthrocentesis is a minor surgical procedure. It involves inserting small needles into your temporomandibular joints to essentially wash them. Specialized tools may also be used to remove damaged tissue, or dislodge a disc or your jaw.
•  Arthroscopy. This is a procedure performed using an arthroscope. An arthroscope is a small tool with a camera and a light at the end of it. Small incisions are made in your jaw and the arthroscope is inserted inside. The camera allows us to examine the area. During this procedure, we can remove inflammation and realign the discs or joints if needed.
•  Open jaw surgery. Open jaw surgery involves opening the jaw so that it can be examined and treated. This is the most invasive surgical treatment and is only recommended in certain cases. Open jaw surgery may be recommended if you have worn bony structures, tumors, bone fragments in the jaw, or you have excessive amounts of scar tissue.
When non-surgical treatments do not provide you with the relief you need from TMJ disorder, surgery may be required. For more information, and to find out if surgery can help to alleviate your TMJ discomfort, call Pacific Oral & Facial Surgery Center at 925-290-7727 today.

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Board certified in Oral & Maxillofacial surgery
The surgical specialty of oral and maxillofacial surgery requires up to six additional years of hospital based surgical and anesthesia training beyond dental school.
Contact Pacific Oral and Facial Surgery Center Today!
The first step to a healthier, happier you.

1133 E. Stanley Blvd. #215 • Livermore, CA 94550
Phone: 925-290-7727 Fax: 925-294-8800
2160 W. Grant Line Road #160 • Tracy, CA 95377
Phone: Phone: 209-835-4600 • Fax: Fax: 209-835-8833