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TMJ Disorder

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Aiken / Augusta Oral & Facial Surgery

TMJ Disorder

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are a family of problems related to your complex jaw joint. If you have had symptoms like pain or a “clicking” sound, you’ll be glad to know that these problems are more easily diagnosed and treated than they were in the past. Since some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important.

No one treatment can resolve TMJ disorders completely and treatment takes time to be effective. Our doctors can help you have a healthier and more comfortable jaw.

straight teeth


TMJ disorders develop for many reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth, tightening your jaw muscles and stressing your TM joint. Or, you may have a damaged jaw joint due to injury or disease. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking or grating noises when you open your mouth, or trouble opening your mouth wide.


Do you have TMJ Disorder?

  •   Are you aware of grinding or clenching your teeth?
  •   Do you wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaws?
  •   Do you have frequent headaches or neck aches?
  •   Does the pain get worse when you clench your teeth?
  •   Does stress make your clenching and pain worse?
  •   Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, or lock when you open your mouth?
  •   Is it difficult or painful to open your mouth, eat or yawn?
  •   Have you ever injured your neck, head or jaws?
  •   Have you had problems (such as arthritis) with other joints?
  •   Do you have teeth that no longer touch when you bite?
  •   Do your teeth meet differently from time to time?
  •   Is it hard to use your front teeth to bite or tear food?
  •   Are your teeth sensitive, loose, broken or worn?

The more times you answered “yes,” the more likely it is that you have a TMJ disorder. Understanding TMJ disorders will also help you understand how they’re treated.

What if my tooth hasn’t caused any issues yet?

“Pain-free” does not mean “Disease-free.”

It’s easy for your wisdom teeth to be neglected. That’s why it’s important to keep the back of your mouth clean, otherwise, it could lead to gum disease and bacteria build up. You may not realize something is wrong unless you consult with a doctor.

When Should I Have my Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Our doctors know that each patient case is different. After we perform an examination of your mouth we may do one of the following:

  • Extract the tooth completely.
  • Partial removal of the tooth (Coronectomy).
  • Observe the tooth and monitor its condition.

If you decide to not get your wisdom teeth removed until a later date, we urge you to monitor your dental and oral health closely by scheduling regular dental check-ups. At the minimum, you should schedule annual check-ups.

Preparation for Surgery

So you’ve decided to have your wisdom teeth removed by our renowned doctors, now its time to prepare for surgery. Be sure to ask your doctor any questions or concerns and inform them of any medications your taking or illnesses you may have. Basic guidelines suggest you follow these steps before surgery:

  • Wear comfortable clothing, short sleeves are recommended.
  • If your receiving intravenous anesthesia, don’t eat or drink for 6 to 8 hours before the procedure.
  • Arrange post-surgery transportation with family or friends to ensure safe travel.

The Surgical Procedure

Our surgeons will recommend which anesthesia is right for you. These include general anesthesia, local anesthesia, or intravenous sedation. In addition, the time required for surgery and method of surgical procedures will depend on many factors:

  • Position of teeth
  • The length and make of roots
  • The thickness of the surrounding bone
  • Your physical health

Immediately after surgery, you will take some well-deserved rest before you are cleared to leave home with your companion.

Be sure to read our full guide on post-surgery!

Post Operation

Our Doctors are committed to ensuring a quick and comfortable recovery. Thus, we will prepare you with a list of instructions and prescriptions that will make your post-surgery experience easy and painless. Here are some additional suggestions you might find beneficial:

  • Use an ice pack for the first 48 to 72 hours to reduce the temporary pain and swelling.
  • Apply moist heat if you’re unable to open your mouth as wide as normal.
  • If bleeding or pain does not subside after the first 72 hours, contact our doctors immediately. They are on call 24 hours a day in case of emergency.
  • Gently exercise your jaw by opening and closing your mouth every few hours.
  • Gently rinse your mouth with salt water to aid healing.
  • Avoid hard or sticky food consumption.
  • Do not smoke or use tobacco products of any kind.
  • Brush your teeth daily but avoid surgical areas.
  • Eat soft foods and drink plenty of fluids for the first 48 hours after surgery. Don’t use straws, suction can disturb the blood clotting.

Be sure to use doctor-prescribed pain medication as per our instructions. You should be able to resume normal day-to-day activities within a short period of time.

Known Risks and Complications

Although wisdom tooth surgery is a common procedure, in some rare occasions complications may arise. Being aware of these risks will help you know if something isn’t right after surgery. The following list is what you should look out for:

  • Infection
  • Injury
  • Dry socket
  • Numbness, or altered sensation
  • Sinus complications
  • Root fragments
  • Jaw fracture
  • Jaw joint pain or abnormal jaw function

Check out our testimonials page to read what our patients are saying!

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Aiken Office

(803) 642-0020

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Augusta Office

(706) 868-9500

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