I’ve recently been diagnosed with TMJ. One of the biggest problems I have from it is lockjaw.  IT will be fine for a while, but then will lock up to where I can’t do anything normal.  My dentist is still deciding on my treatment. The only thing I think I will complain about is surgery. I HATE surgery. Plus, I’ve heard these surgeries aren’t very successful.

Dallas V. – Minnesota


I couldn’t tell you without examinin your case whether or not you’ll need surgery. I can give you some general guidelines. The most common form of TMJ treatment is to wear an orthotic for a set period of time.  Your doctor may also prescribe some pain medication or muscle relaxers to help ease the muscle tension around your jawjoints.

Occasionally, you will receive injections in the affected joints as part of your course of treatment.  These “trigger point” injections can be very effective. Surgery is usually only considered when all other treatments fail. Only about 5-10% of cases fall into this category.

You are right that there is a loss success rate on these TMJ surgeries. The recovery period is difficult and many of the surgeries don’t make a difference.  One of the reasons for that is how hard it is to rest the temporomandibular joint. It is likely the most active joint in your body. You use it when you’re talking, eating, yawning; some patients even use it in their sleep.

I wouldn’t worry about having surgery just yet. First, see how the preliminary treatments work, then you can go from there.

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