Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)
Conditions and Surgery

Conditions of the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the base of the skull and the lower jaw—the joint works like a hinge when you open and close your mouth.

Temporomandibular disorders include conditions that affect the joint and jaw muscles or cause headaches. These include:

  • Arthritis
  • Jaw muscle pain
  • Lock jaw
  • Jaw fractures

Symptoms of TMJ conditions include:

  • Difficulty opening the mouth
  • Earaches
  • Facial pain
  • Headaches
  • Pain
  • Popping sound in the jaw

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Surgery

Some TMJ conditions go away with medicine and rest. Others can cause severe pain that can lead to anxiety and depression if left untreated.

We provide surgical care when:

  • We know the cause of your condition
  • Medicines and other treatments do not reduce your symptoms

Our experts offer three types of TMJ surgery:

  • Arthrocentesis. We place small needles to washout the TMJ joint
  • Arthroscopic surgery. We use a small camera and tiny tools to fix and repair damage to the TMJ joint.
  • Open joint procedures (arthroplasty). We reach the jaw joint through a skin incision in front of the ear. We use this method to repair the TMJ disk or strengthen a loose joint.
  • Total joint replacement. This highly specialized procedure is used for chronic and severe conditions that do not respond to other surgical repairs. We remove the damaged joint and replace it with a custom prosthetic joint designed for you.

Make an Appointment with Emory Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

We provide oral maxillofacial specialty care for adults and children. For information, call 404-778-4500.

Find an oral maxillofacial doctor at Emory Healthcare