TMJ disorders may be short-term or chronic and maybe severe enough to decrease the quality of life. In the process that begins with symptoms such as muscle spasm, pain and/or sounds when opening and closing the mouth, inability to open or close the mouth, irreversible damages begin in the bone, cartilage and soft tissue elements of the joint over time. At this stage, the surgical procedure becomes inevitable.
The most common causes of joint disorders are;
- Teeth clenching and grinding
- Closure Disorder
- Previous trauma to the jaw
The TMJ region has an anatomically complex structure, therefore, the solution to the cause of the disorder is also complex and multi-stage.
- Providing information to patients: Patients should be taught on nutrition and function errors (e.g. chewing gum, pen nibbling). Patients with this type of discomfort should support their jaw while yawning and they should not lie on the stomach. The head and the shoulders should be perpendicular and should not tilt forward.
- Physical therapy helps in relieving muscle pain.
- Medical treatment (painkillers, muscle relaxants, anti-depressants)
- Occlusal splint treatment
In patients suffering from restricted jaw movement, jaw lock and dislocation and painful TME sound, surgery comes to the agenda. The surgery is done by oral surgeon specialists.
The first stage of the surgical intervention is to open the adhesion by performing a joint lavage commonly called as arthrocentesis,
The second stage includes the arthroscopy procedure, which involves camera insertion under general anesthesia. Joint lavage is performed and the adhesions are treated indirectly and the dislodged disc can be reinserted.
Open joint surgery becomes inevitable in cases of developmental disorders such as ankylosis (union of bones), condylar growth that cannot be solved with the first two stages. Under general anesthesia, skin incision is performed infront of the ear and extended into the hairline.If it is necessary, joint prosthesis maybe inserted. The patient is discharged after 1-2 days of hospital stay. Jaw movements should be restricted for 1-2 weeks. There will be no post-operative scarring.