By Dr. Frederick Abeles
Published April 24, 2022
By Dr. Frederick Abeles
Published April 24, 2022
The short answer: TMJ surgery should be a means of last resort. In many cases, there are less invasive TMJ treatment options available to you.
Crunching sounds in your jaw joint. Pain when you eat. Can’t open your mouth fully. If you’re suffering with this, you might be considering TMJ surgery.
Sometimes surgery is the only option. But you’d be wise to examine more conservative treatment options before going under the knife.
Once anatomical structures within the joint have been surgically altered, there’s no turning back. To make matters worse, surgery is not always successful.
So, surgery is one option – but you may have better options that are far less invasive. Meanwhile, let’s compare the two approaches.
1) PRP injections – Platelet rich plasma can be injected into the temporomandibular joints to attempt to create healing of inflamed tissues. Platelet rich plasma is created from your own blood samples taken and centrifuged to separate out the plasma. Then it’s injected into the inflamed joint to try to induce healing of the tissue.
2) Botox injections – Botox (botulinum toxin) can be injected into the muscles surrounding the temporomandibular joint and temporarily ‘freeze’ or paralyze the muscles that are causing pain. It has to be reapplied every three months.
3) Night guard – Your dentist can fabricate a plastic bite guard that’s worn while you sleep. Its main purpose is to protect teeth from chipping, cracking or wearing down. However, some people hope it will help their TMJ pain.
4) Acupuncture – A traditional Chinese medicine alternative where small, thin needles are inserted into the skin surrounding the affected area to reduce pain.
5) Muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories – Prescription drugs can be taken to relax the muscles of the head and neck along with reducing inflammation in the joints and muscles.
6) Massage/physical therapy – Regular massage and manipulation of head and neck muscles can temporarily relieve pain and stiffness. Dry-needling, similar to acupuncture, seeks to relieve pain also.
7) Soft diet – Eliminating difficult to chew, hard, crunchy food can reduce the stress placed upon the temporomandibular joints and help reduce symptoms.
All seven treatment options are temporary fixes. None of them address the true, underlying cause of your TMJ pain and dysfunction.
To make matters worse, while you’re undergoing these procedures, your joints can continue to degenerate and your condition can worsen.
Understand, there’s nothing inherently wrong with these treatment options. They won’t harm you. They certainly can temporarily make you feel better.
But if you actually want to cure your TMJ pain and dysfunction for good, the truth is… these options won’t get it done.
If your temporomandibular joints are fused together (ankylosis) from the ball being bone-on-bone against the socket for too long – surgery is the only option.
If your jaw is locked shut and all other means of treatment have failed – surgery is the only option.
If your temporomandibular joints are degenerative with severe arthritic damage from years of neglect – surgery may be the only option.
If your TMJ pain has not been resolved by other means of treatment – surgery is the only option.
It will probably come as no surprise to you, the main reason surgery is still popular is because insurance companies typically pay for surgery. I’m convinced that some people make their health care decisions based on insurance coverage – whether it’s in their best interest or not.
And just to be clear… to each their own.
Think about it. It’s absurd to surgically operate on any joint in your body just because an insurance company pays for it. Especially if there are less invasive options that are equally, if not more effective.
But there’s another problem. What so many people are missing is this:
The number one reason people have TMJ pain and dysfunction is because their bite isn’t positioning their temporomandibular joints properly. If the surgery simply addresses the joint damage, but doesn’t address the original, underlying cause of the problem, guess what? You still have a TMJ problem.
If I’ve learned anything in my 30-plus year career treating TMJ dysfunction, it’s this:
“You must treat the true, underlying cause of the TMJ problem to get lasting results.”
I’m sure you’re wondering, what is MIRO Therapy® and how is it going to correct my TMJ?
Here’s what you need to know… In simplest terms, TMJ pain and dysfunction are caused by a misalignment of the bite and temporomandibular joints. They’re not in balance, in sync with each other.
MIRO Therapy® uses advanced technology to identify the underlying cause of the misalignment and correct it once and for all without shots, drugs or surgery. It’s so effective that the treatment results are unconditionally guaranteed, which ensures your treatment success.
Bottom line… whenever possible, choose a non-invasive treatment option for your TMJ. Your joints will thank you for years to come.