Assess and Treat Jaw Joint Problems
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) allows the jaw to open, close, and move side to side. You can feel your TMJ by placing two fingers in front of your ears as you open and close your mouth. When the jaw joint does not function the way that it should, it may be caused by a TMJ disorder. This can cause pain and discomfort of the jaw and face, and make it difficult to eat, speak, and maintain full mobility of the jaw.
Our oral surgeons at Napa Sonoma Oral Surgery & Dental Implants, Dr. Tyler Boynton and Dr. Alexander McMahon, treat TMJ disorders in Sonoma and Napa, CA. The goal of treatment is to alleviate pain and ensure full mobility of the jaw. If you experience pain in the jaw joint or would like to learn about TMJ treatment in Sonoma or Napa, contact Napa Sonoma Oral Surgery & Dental Implants for a consultation.
Signs and Symptoms of a TMJ Disorder
Patients can experience TMJ disorder in many different ways. You may find that you experience just one of the symptoms below or all of them. Some patients experience ongoing pain or discomfort for many years before it is discovered that the source of the problem is a disorder of the temporomandibular joint. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have a TMJ disorder:
- Unexplained pain in the muscles of the face
- Ear or jaw pain
- Popping/clicking/grating noises upon opening or closing the mouth
- Difficulty opening the mouth completely
- Trouble chewing foods
- Pain or ringing in the ear
- Hearing loss
Sometimes, the cause of a TMJ disorder is not known. In other cases, TMJ disorders are the result of arthritis, facial trauma, or habitually grinding or clenching the teeth (a condition known as bruxism). Patients with no prior exposure to any of these conditions may still have issues with the jaw joint. Our oral surgeons can diagnose the issue and create a treatment plan to alleviate pain and restore function of the temporomandibular joint.
How Are TMJ Disorders Treated?
Prior to any treatment, you will come to our office in Sonoma or Napa, California, and meet with Dr. Boynton or Dr. McMahon. We will take 3D scans of your head and face to assess the soft tissues and bones surrounding the jaw joint. This will help us pinpoint the source of the problem, and we will create a custom treatment plan tailored to your condition.
Nonsurgical options will always be considered before surgical options. If surgical treatment is recommended, we will discuss your options for anesthesia or sedation so that you can remain comfortable throughout the procedure. Our qualified oral surgeons offer local anesthesia, general anesthesia, IV sedation, and nitrous oxide (laughing gas).
The initial goal of successful TMJ treatment is to alleviate the pain. A pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, or muscle relaxant may be prescribed to relieve the muscle spasm and provide comfort. Steroids may also be applied to the area. Many successful TMJ treatments include continuous self-care treatments at home, including:
- Resting the jaw
- Ice and heat therapy
- Specific jaw exercises
- Eating soft and easy to chew foods
- Keeping mouth slightly open when not swallowing or eating
- Posture improvement
If conventional methods do not work, we may consider a surgical approach. Surgery to correct TMJ disorders may include:
- Arthrocentesis. This irrigation technique rinses the joint of inflammation and debris with a clear fluid.
- Arthroscopy. Your oral surgeon will operate on the joint using a tiny camera that is inserted into the joint via a small incision.
- Open-joint surgery. Reserved for severe cases, this involves your surgeon fully opening and operating on the joint to remove excess bony segments or tissue and reposition the joint.
- Jaw surgery. Sometimes the jaws are severely misaligned and can be corrected through orthognathic surgery. This treatment can correct bite issues and many other maxillofacial conditions.
TMJ disorders often require treatment over time to be most successful. When you come to Napa Sonoma Oral Surgery & Dental Implants for TMJ treatment, Dr. Boynton or Dr. McMahon will create a timeline for treatment. We will work with you to ensure you are as comfortable as possible during the course of your treatment. Please contact our office in Sonoma or Napa, CA, if you are experiencing any signs of a TMJ disorder.
Hear From Our Patients
A Team Committed to Your Oral Health
We put patient safety and comfort at the forefront of our practice to ensure better oral health outcomes and experiences. Contact us to find out how our trusted team of oral surgery specialists can help you and your loved ones.