The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)
TMJ disorders refer to a group of conditions that affect the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. The TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is located where the skull meets the lower jaw, just in front of the ears. You can feel the TMJ moving by placing two fingers just in front of your ears and opening and closing your mouth. Some TMJ disorders will disappear on their own, but in more severe cases, patients must make lifestyle changes or receive other treatments to solve TMJ issues.
Oral surgeon Dr. Robert Bryan at Oral Surgery Specialists of Oklahoma is an expert at diagnosing TMJ disorders and forming treatment plans to relieve the tension in the jaw. If you live in the Oklahoma City metro area and you are experiencing TMJ pain or tenseness, feel free to contact our office to learn more about TMJ treatment or schedule a consultation with Dr. Bryan.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
Problems with the TMJ can cause pain or difficulty when opening your mouth or using your jaw. The exact cause of TMJ disorders is not known, but many symptoms can contribute to a diagnosis. A few of the most common TMJ symptoms include:
- Radiating pain in the jaw and chewing muscles
- Pain or tension around the neck and face
- Limited jaw movement or jaw tightness (locking of the jaw)
- Changes in the alignment of the teeth
- Uncomfortable clicking, popping, or grinding sounds when fully opening the jaw
A patient who exhibits these symptoms should seek an evaluation from an oral surgeon. Early diagnosis can minimize the treatment required to manage the problem and avoid the need for surgical intervention.
TMJ Treatment From an Oral Surgeon
During the initial consultation appointment, Dr. Bryan will assess the jaw and TMJ to recommend the next course of treatment. We will take 3D images of your head and mouth using state-of-the-art i-CAT™ 3D scanning technology. TMJ pain can often be treated without the need for surgery. Lifestyle changes such as resting the jaw in an open state and improving posture often help with TMJ issues. Sometimes your doctor can prescribe medication to relax the muscles or ease pain associated with TMJ disorders. Physical therapy can also be helpful in relieving TMJ symptoms.
For severe cases of TMJ, where lifestyle changes, physical therapy, and other treatments are unsuccessful, surgery may be necessary. Occasionally, TMJ disorders are only a symptom of a larger problem, such as severe jaw misalignment. Oral surgeons undergo years of training to understand the balance between the facial muscles, bones, joints, and other structures. During any procedure with us, we are happy to explain your anesthesia and sedation options if you are concerned about discomfort or have surgery-related anxiety.
Treatment of TMJ Disorders in Oklahoma City, OK
When TMJ disorders interfere with your daily life, an oral surgeon is highly qualified to treat the issue. Dr. Bryan can perform a consultation and exam to determine the right course of treatment for your condition. To learn more about TMJ treatment at Oral Surgery Specialists of Oklahoma, contact our office in Oklahoma City, OK.