Ideally, TMJ treatment should take place before we have to resort to surgery. However, sometimes when treatment is postponed, or if the disorder is severe enough, surgery is the best treatment option. That’s why it’s good to know that surgical treatments are continuing to be refined, including the addition of fat grafting to the use of artificial temporomandibular joints.

Temporomandibular Joint Ankylosis

The improvement patients experienced from the combination of joint replacement and fat grafting. Their ability to open their jaw improved to an average of nearly an inch and a half. Their jaw pain reduced to a subjective rating of 1.5 and headaches reduced to 2.5 on a 10-point scale.

Follow-up ranging from 12 months to 168 months after the procedure also shows the potential for long-lasting relief.

Avoiding TMJ Surgery

Although these results are promising, the study doesn’t lead us to believe that TMJ surgery is a desirable treatment. There are still risks of complications, and the fact that the average patient in this study had a total of three surgeries before they saw success. So, whenever possible, it’s best to avoid TMJ surgery.

One common reason why people end up needing surgery is that they either ignore their symptoms or try to perform home care for their symptoms for too long. Never ignore TMJ symptoms, and if your symptoms persist for over a week, worsen under home care, or recur, it’s important to get professional care.

Fortunately, most cases of TMJ can be treated without having to resort to surgery. We can use noninvasive treatments like TENS (a kind of electronic muscle massage) and a bite splint to relieve symptoms and prevent the progression of TMJ. It’s only when we’re unable to get results that we have to refer patients for surgery.

If you are looking for nonsurgical TMJ treatment in Columbia, SC, please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a TMJ dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.