Treatment of Jaw Joint Problems (TMJ Syndrome)
Jaw pain and problems around the jaw joint are really common.The term 'Temporomandibular Pain Dysfunction Syndrome' is often used to mean a whole host of symptoms from pain in and around the jaw joint, clicking, limited opening, muscle spasm, neck pain and locking of the joint.
Most of the time the problem is not serious and often symptoms are due to wear and tear of the joint, overuse or damage to the cartilage within the joint (perhaps due to opening too wide) or due to clenching the teeth due to habit or stress.
Treatment is usually conservative which means that we try to reassure you and not actually do anything invasive except exclude serious causes that may do you harm. We may examine you, get an x-ray of your jaw joint and do nothing else. We occasionally arrange to rinse out your joint with saline(sterile salty water) by a procedure called arthrocentesis. This has been shown to reduce pain from the joint which can be long lasting but not necessarily permanent. This is usually done as a short procedure either under local anaesthetic or a short general anaesthetic and can be explained to you by your surgeon.
If you have symptoms it is however important that you are assessed by a specialist who can advise you fully on any diagnostic procedures or treatment required.