TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that hinges your jaw to the rest of your mouth. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that around 10 million Americans have some kind of TMJ disorder, with pain in the chewing muscles and jaw joint being the most common symptom.
Symptoms Of TMJ
- Jaw muscle stiffness
- Limited movement or jaw locking
- Radiating pain in the jaw, neck or face
- A popping or clicking noise when opening or closing the mouth
Any combination of the above symptoms can point to a TMJ disorder. It’s important that you make an appointment right away to minimize the damage to your jaw.
Fortunately, there are many devices and procedures that can drastically improve or get rid of TMJ symptoms altogether. Only 20% of TMJ sufferers will ever actually need surgery.
What Causes TMJ Problems?
TMJ disorders can develop for many different reasons. These can include natural causes such as arthritis, or stress-induced causes such as clenching or grinding the teeth. As a result of any damage to the joint, the joint can slip out of position causing a clicking or popping noise when moving the jaw, as well as a misaligned bite and pain.
If you’re suffering from any of these symptoms and would like to be evaluated by an expert maxillofacial surgeon, please contact Denver Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Denver, Colorado and get checked out by Dr. Matthew Schacht!
In the most severe cases of TMJ disorders, a complete joint replacement may be considered. A total TMJ replacement is similar to hip surgery, in that it’s a “ball and socket” type of prosthetic joint being placed. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia and only two incisions are made: Behind the lower jaw, where the condylar component (or “ball”) is placed and in front of the ear, where the fossa component (or “socket”) is implanted.
Why Would I Need A TMJ Replacement?
Total TMJ replacements are a last resort for TMJ sufferers with the most severe cases. These cases will usually cause loss of function and intense pain. If you experience any of the following symptoms, and they aren’t being relieved by other TMJ treatments, you may need a TMJ replacement:
- Inflammatory arthritis
- Complete immobility of the jaw
- Improper jaw position due to bone loss or trauma
- The failure of previous TMJ treatment options
If you’d like more information on total TMJ replacements, please make an appointment to see our highly qualified maxillofacial surgeon, Dr. Matthew Schacht, at Denver Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.