Jaw joint or Temporomandibular joint is affected by many conditions which give rise to pain and clicking sounds in the joint. Since the joint works 24 x 7 without rest, it is absolutely essential to maintain the joint in good health and get its problems sorted out by visiting a Maxillofacial surgeon trained in TMJ arthroscopic and open surgery. Dr Nisheet Agni has trained extensively in both open and Arthroscopic jaw joint surgery both in India and Ninth People’s Hospital, Shanghai which performs the maximum number of jaw joint procedures in Asia and probably the world.
The jaw joint relates to stress and hence during times of increased stress in our day to day life the jaw joint and its supporting muscles can become tender and lead to discomfort while eating and during our daily life activities. This condition is known as Temporomandibular jaw Disorder (TMD). At times the surrounding supporting muscles also become tender leading to Myofascial Pain Dysfunction Syndrome (MPDS).
Also, like other joints of the body, the jaw joint can get affected by arthritic changes. Initially, only popping or clicking sounds are heard during opening and closing of the mouth without any discomfort. This clicking is known as Anterior Disk Displacement with reduction. At this stage the management is primarily aimed to prevent further damage to the joint and there is no active treatment needed. As the disease advances, the clicking may be associated with pain. At this stage treatment consists of medication and splint therapy. Splint is a custom made tray like device which has to be worn by the patient as advised by the surgeon. Later on it can get aggravated and lead to difficulty in mouth opening which is referred to as Anterior Disk Displacement without reduction where in there is an indication for Arthroscopic Surgery initially and if left untreated may also need an open surgery.
Other most debilitating condition affecting the jaw joint is called TMJ Ankylosis. This usually occurs in younger children who have had a fall and jaw joint injury (bone fracture or bleeding into the joint) or recurrent ear infection in childhood. Due to this there is damage to one or both joints and as body tries to heal them the lower and upper component of the jaw joint gets fused slowly leading to decrease in mouth opening progressively till it becomes zero. This not only affects the eating and speaking i.e. functions but also leads to growth disturbances of the lower jaw giving rise to asymmetry of the face in case only one side is affected and a very small bird like facial deformity in case both sides are affected. This condition needs staged surgical treatments including release of the joint to achieve full function of the jaw and management of the deformity with either Orthognathic surgery or distraction osteogenesis.