Choices for TMJ (Temporo-Mandibular Joint) Surgery

Did your dentist recommend you to have TMJ surgery? Depending on the cause and gravity of your symptoms, surgery is usually the last resort when all other treatments have failed.

Your dentist may offer you some form of corrective dental treatment as a first alternative cure. For instance, the biting surfaces of your teeth may need balancing, or it may be that you need a replacement for missing teeth to correct your bite. The treatment might even be as uncomplicated as getting a crown or a filling restored, which can reduce the stress in your jaw. Still, you must understand that any or all of these treatments may have the chance of worsening your TMJ discomfort. Make certain that you and your dentist agree on the course of action.

favorite plus dental intra oral cameraWhat are your choices?


This is a minimal procedure that involves the extraction of fluid from the joint. The dentist inserts a needle into the joint then irrigates the section in an attempt to remove fragments and other inflammatory derivatives. When it has been sufficiently cleared, he may then inject a lubricant into the area to help the joint move more normally, or a steroid to help with healing. The process is marginally invasive, and recovery time would only take up to two days.

This technique doesn’t work for every patient, though. Some patients who had it said that it didn’t get rid of the pain. If your dentist advises this approach, you need to consider it prudently, as it is still surgery, and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research believes it to be rather debatable.


This is a somewhat more invasive treatment than arthrocentesis, although it is slightly the same in procedure. In arthroscopy, the dentist uses an intra-oral camera to examine the inside of your jaw joint. Depending on what he discovers, he may perform other procedures while he’s there, like stitching your discs in position if they have moved out of alignment, or removing loose scar tissue. Done on an outpatient basis, recovery time takes longer than that of arthrocentesis. Most individuals need at least a week before they can return to work. This kind of surgery leaves very little scar. Actually, in most instances, there is none at all. The needed incision is normally less than five millimeters long, necessitating only a very few stitches to close. If you observe any type of persistent marks, they almost certainly will be in the form of some temporary bruising in that part.


If your TMJ symptoms cannot be resolved using the least invasive forms of surgery, then arthroplasty, also referred to as open joint surgery, may be your chance for relief. Aside from giving your dental surgeon the best possible view of your jaw, it is the preferred method for repairing, removing, or replacing the articular disc and doing general surgery to the bone. Executed under local or general anesthesia, it involves making a small cut over the jaw, directly before the ear. This uncovers the joint space, allowing the surgeon room to mend the damage.

Osseous Surgery

This treatment is performed to re-shape or re-structure the disc. TMJ pain can arise due to badly shaped bones in the joint area. This surgery tries to remodel the bone to alleviate the condition.


If your dental surgeon recommends this procedure, he’s talking about the total or partial elimination of the disc. It may be that this cartilage is so seriously damaged that it just can’t be kept, and he should perform either a partial or a total removal of the articular disc and thus replace it with an implant. The implant comprises a synesthetic material which performs the same role as the disc, stopping the joint bones from rubbing against one another.

All of these procedures are invasive, and they should not be taken lightly. Discuss this with a TMJ expert to ensure that TMJ surgery is really the right treatment for your symptoms. In attempting to do more modest measures first, you can save yourself from additional agony.




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