Lake Norman Oral & Facial Surgery • Dr. Raymond J. Haigney II • 9727 Northcross Center Ct. Huntersville, NC 28078 (704) 987-3132

9727 Northcross Center Ct. Huntersville, NC 28078 (704) 987-3132

Is TMJ surgery dangerous?

Temporomandibular joint disorders can be very painful. Some very mild cases are able to self resolve while other more severe cases can eventually require surgery. Fortunately, there are a number of treatments for varying degrees of TMJ pain before resorting to tmj surgery at lake norman oral & Facial surgery.

The temporomandibular joint is the joint that attaches your lower jaw to your head. Pain with this joint can have a significant impact on your overall quality of life, causing patients to modify their daily routines such as eating and speaking. They can have a major impact

Some symptoms you may notice if you suspect TMJ issues include clicking or popping in the jaw, pain while eating, ear pain, headaches, ringing in the ears, and lockjaw.

Something as simple as an occlusal guard worn while you sleep can greatly improve your situation. Other non-invasive options include physical therapy to loosen and strengthen the jaw muscles, medications, and even counseling to help break bad habits that may be causing stress and inadvertently, TMJ pain.

Your doctor will help you determine which treatment path is best for you before recommending surgery.

Is TMJ surgery dangerous?

TMJ surgery is considered a last resort because it is not guaranteed and in some cases may even make matters worse. TMJ surgery is painful to recover from and there is no significant research to determine the long-term effectiveness of surgery nor is there a set of criteria for doctors to determine which patients would benefit from surgery.

That said, it is important that you work hard at the non-invasive treatments your doctor prescribes!

Types of TMJ Surgery

There are actually a few different types of surgery that your doctor may recommend. Some are minimally invasive and others require a full joint replacement.

  • Arthrocentesis: The least invasive TMJ surgery, this outpatient procedure and involves your doctor inserting a small needle into the joint to drain any fluid that may have built up and are causing inflammation or they can also add a lubricating fluid to the joint to help reduce friction.
  • Injections: Botox can actually be used to relieve muscle pain in the jaw and corticosteroid injections can be helpful with joint pain.
  • Modified Condylotomy: This surgery is used to indirectly improve the temporomandibular joint but accessing the mandible instead of the joint itself. This one is helpful to patients experiencing lockjaw.
  • Disc Repositioning: There is a desk that provides cushioning in the TMJ. If the disc slipped out of place, your doctor can put it back where it belongs and secure it in place with sutures.
  • Discectomy: If the cushioning disc is not viable, your doctor may have to remove it altogether. Unfortunately, this procedure may have you in the hospital for a couple of days and has a long recovery period during which your jaw could be wired shut while your body works to replace the disc.
  • TMJ Replacement: sometimes the joint is no longer stable and can require replacement. Your doctor may be able to repair the joint without actually replacing it but if it is irreparable, a prosthetic joint can be placed. Again, recovery will be extensive and your jaw will be wired shut while you heal.

Are there any complications that can arise with TMJ surgery?

Every surgery comes with the possibility of complications. With TMJ surgery these can include but are not limited to:

  • Trouble with anesthesia
  • Infection or problems with bleeding
  • Possible damage to nerves in the face or ear
  • Possible damage to the surrounding area
  • Surgical failure, which can require a second surgery

For all of these reasons, TMJ surgery is the last resort. Surgery is risky and may not work and can even leave you in worse shape than before surgery.

If you are at a point with your TMJ pain that it has been determined surgery is your best option, make sure that your entire healthcare team is involved and knows what your decisions are. Be your own best advocate and educate yourself on the risks and benefits of TMJ surgery.

More on TMJ Surgery : Pros and Cons of TMJ Surgery

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Patient Testimonial

"Words cannot express enough, how wonderful, caring and professional Dr. Haigney and his staff are! After being rushed to the Huntersville hospital with an orbital fracture, broken nose and other facial damage, Dr. Haigney rushed me into surgery (on his day off I must add) and corrected all my problems. I only wish all doctors cared as much about their patients and their recovery as Dr. Haigney and his staff did. Thank you so much for everything! Your attention and compassion has helped me make my recovery as comfortable as possible. 5 star service!"