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TMJ (Jaw Joint) disorders

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What is TMJ?

This refers to the Temporomandibular Joints which are the jaw joints that sit just in front of the ear and allows our lower jaw to open and close and move from side to side.  Occasionally, the TMJ may be painfully sore and result in clicking or grating sounds during talking or eating. Sometimes, the TMJ may dislocate so that the back teeth do not meet, or alternatively, the TMJ may get stuck so you cannot open your mouth.

TMJ location
TMJ disc and cartilage
The TMJ is located just in front of the ear which is shaded pink. The health of the TMJ depends on the position of the disc which is shaded pink as well as the cartilage, which may peel if it becomes arthritic.

How do you treat TMJ disorders?

Over 95% of TMJ disorders are treated by medication, physiotherapy and bite splints (specially made mouth guards). In 5% of cases surgery is required to treat the TMJ disorder that fails to respond to conservative treatment.

Normal joint Scarred joint Inflamed joint
Normal joint Scarred joint Inflamed joint

What does TMJ surgery involve?

The TMJ, like any other joint in the body, may be affected by joint disease that requires surgery. Just as an orthopaedic surgeon would operate on a diseased knee or hip, the TMJ may require surgery ranging from simple arthroscopy (keyhole surgery) all the way to a total joint replacement when the TMJ is affected by severe arthritis.

Surgical incision for TMJ surgery
Scar one month later
Surgical incision for TMJ surgery Scar one month later
TMJ reconstruction with rib graft
Total joint replacement
TMJ reconstruction with rib graft Total joint replacement

Is TMJ surgery uncommon?

YES. However, Dr Dimitroulis is an internationally recognized figure in TMJ surgery and is invited around the world to give lectures and demonstrations on TMJ surgery due to his vast surgical and research experience and extensive publications in international scientific journals. Because TMJ surgery is uncommon, you will need a referral from another Specialist rather than your GP to see Dr Dimitroulis for a surgical opinion.