A jaw that clicks every time you open and close your mouth, and every time you chew, is more than just an annoyance.
It can actually point to a serious oral condition known as temporomandibular disorder (TMD). This condition is treatable, and your oral surgeon is the first person you should call.
WHAT IS TMD?
TMD is a group of disorders that affect your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The TMJ is the hinge that connects your upper and lower jaw, allowing for movement.
It can be caused by a number of different factors, including arthritis (osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis), misaligned teeth, bruxism or facial trauma. This causes the joint to become inflamed and/or irritated, and it does not function as it should. Clicking and popping is a common symptom. Other symptoms include:
• Pain/difficulty while chewing or even opening your mouth.
• Facial pain.
• Limited jaw movement.
• The joint may lock.
HOW IS TMD TREATED?
The treatment for TMD depends upon your unique circumstances as well as the severity of the condition. In some instances, an anti-inflammatory is all that is needed. However, in more severe cases, oral surgery is required. An oral surgeon is an expert at diagnosing TMD. Your oral surgeon will be able to determine the severity of the condition as well as the cause, and can therefore plan the best course of action for treatment.
SURGICAL TREATMENT FOR TMD
While conservative treatments are usually preferred, they are not always the most effective. Instead, oral surgery may provide you with the best outcome. There are several surgical procedures that can be used to treat your TMD, depending upon your circumstances:
• Arthrocentesis. The joint is flushed with the help of a saline solution to ease inflammation.
• Arthroscopy. A small scope is inserted into the jaw to see what is going on. It can also be used to loosen any tissue that is affecting jaw movement.
• Arthroplasty. A procedure done to remove bone spurs and stitch or replace discs.
• Total joint replacement. This is the most extreme solution for TMD, and is usually not considered unless all other options have failed. A prosthetic joint is used to replace your problematic TMJ.
If your jaw clicks, don’t ignore it. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment today.