Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) are a family of problems related to the complex jaw joints (TMJ). These problems can develop for a number of reasons. Clenching or grinding your teeth tightens your jaw muscles and stresses the TMJ. Some of the signs and symptoms are misaligned bite, clicking, popping or grating noises when the mouth is opened or closed, trouble opening the mouth wide, frequent headaches, tenderness of the muscle of your jaw, inability to chew due to pain, or sensitive, loose, broken or worn down teeth. Moreover, traumatic injury or disease like arthritis can also cause a problem internally within the joints. Poor posture can also cause muscle to tighten up, putting pressure on the TM joints causing some of the irritation and pain associated with this problem.
An extensive evaluation is required to confirm the diagnosis of a TMJ disorder. Radiographic evaluation as well as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are the mainstay of TMJ diagnostic imaging. It also clarifies the causes of your disorder, helping the doctor to set stage for treatment. Although we are a surgical specialty, at AACOMS we maintain the philosophy of conservative care and have seen excellent results in our years of experience. We believe in nonsurgical treatment as a first modality prior to discussing any surgical benefits.
Dr. Díaz has obtained specialized training in the treatment of TMJ disorders having completed an additional arthroscopic and TMJ surgery fellowship. He has treated TMJ disorders for many years, and he has lectured nationally and internationally on this subject as well as being a contributing author in an well known arthroscopic temporomandibular joint surgery book.
We offer a number of surgical procedures and are excited to see excellent results with our in-office superior joint space lavage. This procedure is commonly known as arthrocentesis. Technically, it is a washing out of the joint itself, removing the stagnant TMJ fluid along with the placement of anti-inflammatory medications (steroids) which help reduce the painful inflammatory response in the jaw joints. The procedure is accomplished under IV anesthesia and local anesthesia.
We can also provide a safe and very cost-effective way of delivering minimally invasive TMJ surgery in an office setting. This allows the patient to return home the same day. Diagnostic and operative (surgical) joint arthroscopy is also performed at our facility under local and general anesthesia. We are able to reposition (recapture) discs back to their normal anatomic position via suturing techniques as well as performing joint debridement procedures using motorized micro-instrumentation or laser. For those TMJ disorders that have significant joint pathology, open joint procedures are met with good success although generally these are done in the hospital.
At AACOMS, we provide a full scope of temporomandibular joint management. If you continue to suffer from pain in the joints that are refractory to splint therapy and nonsurgical management we will be glad to evaluate the surgical adjuncts and alternatives to provide you with improved function with great results.