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18555 N 79th Ave Suite A-103
Glendale, AZ 85308-8370

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When Your Jaw Clicks, Go In and See Your Oral Surgeon


Posted on 10/30/2016 by Dr. Michael Allard
An elderly woman suffering from TMD Jaw pain.
Hearing a constant clicking noise with every chew can get old rather fast. Not only can it be annoying, it may also be a sign of TMD, and you should get it checked out.

What is TMD?

Temporomandibular disorder, or TMD, is the irritation and inflammation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This joint is the hinge of your upper and lower jaws, and is responsible for the ability to open your mouth, move your lower jaw side to side, yawn, eat and speak. While the exact cause of TMD is unknown, it has been linked to facial trauma, dislocation, and bruxism, the clenching and grinding of the jaw.

Symptoms
TMD has several symptoms. These symptoms include:

•  Jaw pain, including pain at the joint.
•  Facial pain.
•  Trouble opening your mouth, as well as eating and speaking.
•  Your jaw may lock open.
•  Headache/earache (due to the proximity of the joint to the temples and ears).
•  Clicking and popping when opening and closing the mouth as well as chewing.

How Oral Surgery Can Help

You can't stop eating or speaking, but these activities may be rather painful. There are several surgeries available that can help with TMD.

Arthrocentesis is minimally invasive. With this procedure, the surgeon inserts needles into the joint to clean it out.

Arthroscopy is another minimally invasive procedure. First, an incision is made below the ear and a small camera is entered into the joint. This camera allows the surgeon to see the inside the joint, remove inflamed tissue and realign the joint if necessary.

For more severe cases, your surgeon may opt for open jaw surgery. In this instance, the jaw is completely opened to give the surgeon full view and complete access to the joint.

You don't have to live with a clicking jaw. Contact us about TMD and see if oral surgery is the right option for you.

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