Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders
The temporomandibular joint, “jaw joint” or “TMJ” is located in front of the external ear canal. Irritation or inflammation of the joint or surrounding fibro muscular tissue can often be misinterpreted as ear infections, sinus problems, tension/migraine headaches, or jaw and neck pain. As such, a collaborative effort between medicine and dentistry is a necessity for proper treatment. With advanced education/training in both medicine and dentistry, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons are poised to provide the most comprehensive treatment for patients suffering from this debilitating condition.
We recommend the following for the treatment of TMJ disorders:
- Decrease the stress on the jaw joint:
- Eat a softer diet.
- Take smaller bites.
- Use fewer chewing motions.
- Avoid chewing gum, eating ice or hard candy, chewing bagels, chewing on a tooth pick, and opening the mouth to the point of causing pain.
- Teeth should be left slightly open with the jaw muscles relaxed.
- Use moist heat compresses to side of head as needed.
- Dental consultation for fabrication of occlusal nightguard or general evaluation of occlusion.
- Medications - may include anti-inflammatory agents as well as muscle relaxants depending on the severity/underlying cause of the condition.
TMJ surgery has many risks, and it is for this reason that all efforts are made to first treat the condition conservatively. Sometimes these attempts may be unsuccessful and the condition may require further evaluation for possible surgical treatment. If the above measures fail to control the discomfort after a 6 week trial, we will begin to discuss these options with you further.
For concerns or problems:
Call the clinic at 318.813.2625, Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.
After clinic hours, weekends, and holidays, call 318.675.5000 and ask for the OMFS Resident on call.