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Face and Jaw Surgery

TMJ pain/problems

09/08/2003

Question:

I have had problems with TMJ pain (and other - clicking, locking, etc) since I was a teenager (I am 34 now). About 5 years ago I had orthodontics put on to hopefully address/eliminate the problem. While it seemed to help initially, the problems have gradually returned. The last year or so they have gotten increasingly worse - more painful and occuring more often, every time I eat or use my jaw a lot (talking or singing). I have been told by several dentists that I should just learn to live with it and hope it goes away, as the treatment is far worse than the symptoms. Also a few web sites I have looked at basically said stay far away from any treatment/surgery altogether which often are worthless or even make things worse. Should I heed these warnings and not waste my time seeing a specialist? Are there any treatments at all that I could look into? I have lived with this a long time, but the last year has worried me as the problem seems to be getting much more serious as time goes on. Please let me know if there is any solution at all beyond "learn to live with it".

Answer:

There are a number of oral and maxillofacial surgeons who focus their practices to this type of problem. However, most of them practice in large academic centers. My recommendation would be for you to research this option at the nearest academic oral and maxillofacial surgery department, since there are treatment options available that may help you with your problem.

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Response by:

Guillermo  E Chacon, DDS Guillermo E Chacon, DDS
Formerly:
Associate Professor of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University