TMJ Surgery


TMJ, known by the dental term, temporomandibular joint disorder, refers to problems with the jaw joint. No one treatment can resolve TMJ disorders completely and treatment takes time to become effective. At Lake Norman Oral and Facial Surgery, Dr. Haigney can help diagnose the problem and provide you with a healthier and more comfortable jaw.

Do I have TMJ?

If you have had symptoms like pain or clicking, these symptoms occur when the joints of the jaw and the chewing muscles do not work together correctly. TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint, which is the name for each joint both on the right and the left, and those joints connect your jaw to your skull. Since some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important. Some patients come to us because they have unexplained headaches and pain or stiffness in their neck, shoulders, or back. These are all possible signs of TMJ. A list of common questions that help us in diagnosing TMJ includes:

Do You Have a TMJ Disorder?

•  Are you grinding or clenching your teeth either while you sleep or during the day?
•  Do you wake up with your jaw feeling sore or stiff?
•  Do you experience frequent headaches?
•  Do you experience frequent neck aches?
•  When you get stressed, does your clenching and pain get worse?
•  Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, or lock when you open your mouth?
•  Do you experience pain when you open your mouth to eat or yawn?
•  Have you ever had a significant head, neck or jaw injury?
•  Have you had problems, including arthritis, with other joints?
•  Do you have teeth that no longer touch when you bite?
•  Has your bite changed, or do your teeth meet differently from time to time?
•  Is it difficult or painful to use your front teeth to bite or tear food?
•  Are your teeth experiencing unusual sensitivity or have become loose, broken or worn?


If you are finding that some or most of the above questions apply to you, we recommend a consultation with Dr. Haigney. Understanding TMJ disorders will also help you understand how they are treated.

How did I get TMJ?

Jaw disorders develop due to many reasons. It may be because you clench or grind your teeth, this tightening of your jaw muscles stresses your TM joint. You may have a damaged your jaw joint from an injury or as a condition of a disease. Injuries and arthritis can damage the joint directly by stretching or tear the muscle ligaments. This causes the cartilage and other functions that cushion the jaw joint, to slip out of position. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking or grating noise when you open your mouth or trouble opening your mouth wide.

Treatment for TMJ

There are various treatment options that Dr. Haigney can utilize to improve the comfort and function of your jaw. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, Dr. Haigney will determine the proper course of treatment. It is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach of self-care joined with professional care. The initial goals are to relieve the muscle spasm and joint pain. A good first initial step is generally a pain reliever, either an anti-inflammatory or a muscle relaxant. Dr. Haigney may find that the patient would benefit from an injection of steroids directly into the joints to reduce pain and inflammation.

Some at home treatments that you can try include:


•  Resting your jaw, reduce talking and eat only soft foods for a few days.
•  Keep your teeth slightly apart when you are not swallowing or eating, having your teeth clenched together may be causing stress.
•  Apply ice packs and heat packs to reduce swelling.
•  Try various jaw exercises.
•  Check your posture, and how you hold your neck and head.


Other less invasive techniques that Dr. Haigney may be able to recommend may include:


•  Stress management techniques including biofeedback or physical therapy.
•  Wearing a temporary, clear plastic appliance known as a splint or nightguard to help keep your teeth apart while you sleep, reducing pain and relaxing the muscles, also stopping the effects of clenching or teeth grinding.
•  An anterior positioning appliance moves your jaw forward, to relieve pressure on parts of your jaw and aids in disc repositioning. It may be worn 24 hours/day to help your jaw heal.
•  An orthotic stabilization appliance is worn 24 hours or just at night to move your jaw into proper position.


What about bite correction or surgery?

After we have exhausted all of the non-invasive treatments, surgery may be the next option. Dr. Haigney will be able to review various procedures including, bite adjustment (equilibration), orthodontics with or without jaw reconstruction, or restorative dental work. Surgical options such as arthroscopy and open joint repair restructuring are sometimes needed but are reserved for severe cases. Dr. Haigney does not consider TMJ surgery unless the jaw can't open, is dislocated and nonreducible, has severe degeneration, or the patient has undergone appliance treatment unsuccessfully. He will be able to guide you to the appropriate treatment for your situation.

Raymond J. Haigney II, DDS, is a Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, as an Oral Surgeon, he has completed extra years in coursework and time in clinic working on the latest advancements in dentistry. His education is ongoing for the benefit of his patients. To schedule a consultation, contact his front office staff at our Huntersville, NC 28078 office. 704-987-3132
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Treating patients the way we would expect to be treated.


Lake Norman Oral and Facial Surgery
DR. RAYMOND J. HAIGNEY II

9727 Northcross Center Ct
Huntersville, NC 28078
CALL US AT (704) 255-5888
info@lakenormanofs.com
FAX (704) 987-3709
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