The temporomandibular joints are the ones that connect a person’s jawbone to their face. We all have two temporomandibular hinge joints on either side of our faces right in front of our ears. It’s the movement of these joints that allows us to open and close our mouths while eating and speaking.
At Hammond Pond Dental Group in Chestnut Hill, MA, we encounter patients who come to us with temporomandibular joint disorders, TMD. Knowing how to treat these patients is important so they can resume their lives without difficulties.
At Hammond Pond Dental Group, based on experience, we prefer to start with conservative treatment with most patients. Many people respond and get better.
First of all, it’s important not to put a lot of stress on the joint. This means avoiding trauma to the face and chewing soft foods only like yogurt, cheese, eggs, mashed potatoes, and others. Hard foods or things like gum that need a lot of chewing should be avoided.
Additionally, those suffering from TMD shouldn’t rest their chins on any hard objects as this exerts pressure on the TMJ. Splints or night guards are great options for people who clench their jaws or grind their teeth.
Deep heat applied to the joint using ultrasound or via radio wave therapy is great as it stimulates healing and increases blood flow to the joint.
While conservative treatment options work wonders for many, some people will need invasive treatment. This includes joint injections, open-joint surgery, and arthroscopies.
Joint injections involve injecting the joint with corticosteroids to control inflammation. Arthrocentesis is aspirating excess fluid and debris from the joint. Before these procedures are done, we apply anesthesia to the site of needle penetration, so patients don’t feel any pain.
Surgery to the joint, if needed, can be done using arthroscopy or regular surgery. Arthroscopy relies on using an endoscope to access the joint while open-joint surgery includes an incision over the joint.
At Hammond Pond Dental Group, we have the expertise and training to treat your TMD according to its severity. We only resort to surgery if it’s necessary.