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Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD, TMJ)

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Other Treatments

If the treatments listed above don’t help, your dentist may suggest one or more of the following:

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). This therapy uses low-level electrical currents to provide pain relief by relaxing your jaw joint and facial muscles. It can be done at the dentist's office or at home.
  • Ultrasound. Deep heat applied to the joint can relieve soreness or improve mobility.
  • Trigger-point injections. Pain medication or anesthesia is injected into tender facial muscles called "trigger points" to give relief.
  • Radio wave therapy. Radio waves stimulate the joint, which increases blood flow and eases pain.
  • Low-level laser therapy. This lowers pain and inflammation and helps you move your neck more freely and open your mouth wider.

 

Surgery for TMD

If other treatments can’t help you, surgery is an option. Once it’s done, it can’t be undone, so get a second or even third opinion from other dentists.

There are three types of surgery for TMD. The type you need depends on the problem.

  • Arthrocentesis is used if you have no major history of TMJ but your jaws are locked. It’s a minor procedure that your dentist can do in his office. He’ll give you general anesthesia, then insert needles into the joint and wash it out. He may use a special tool to get rid of damaged tissue or dislodge a disc stuck in the joint, or to unstick the joint itself.
  • Arthroscopy is surgery done with an arthroscope. This special tool has a lens and a light on it. It lets your doctor see inside your joint. You’ll get general anesthesia, then the doctor will make a small cut in front of your ear and insert the tool. It’ll be hooked up to a video screen, so he can examine your joint and the area around it. He may remove inflamed tissue or realign the disc or joint. This type of surgery, known as minimally invasive, leaves a smaller scar, has fewer complications, and requires a shorter recovery time than a major operation.
  • Open-joint surgery. Depending on the cause of the TMD, arthroscopy may not be possible. You may need this type of surgery if:
    • The bony structures in your jaw joint are wearing down
    • You have tumors in or around the joint
    • Your joint is scarred or full of bone chips

You’ll get general anesthesia, then the doctor will open up the entire area around the joint so he can get a full view and better access. You’ll need longer to heal after open-joint surgery, and there is a greater chance of scarring and nerve injury.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Friedman, DDS on October 26, 2014
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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

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American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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