Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) ankylosis is a medical condition that involves the fusion or immobilization of the temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects your jawbone (mandible) to your skull. This joint allows you to perform various movements of the jaw, including talking, chewing, and yawning. When ankylosis occurs, it restricts or prevents the normal movement of the jaw, leading to significant functional and sometimes cosmetic problems.
There are various temporomandibular joint ankylosis types that patients may develop, including:
TMJ ankylosis can occur due to multiple factors, such as:
The symptoms of temporomandibular joint ankylosis may vary from person to person. Some of the common symptoms are:
TMJ ankylosis can develop in individuals of all ages, from children to adults, and it can affect both men and women. While it’s a relatively rare condition, there are several factors and risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing TMJ ankylosis.
These factors include:
Pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and muscle relaxants may be prescribed to relieve pain and inflammation in the jaw joint. Antibiotics may be given to prevent or treat any infections that may occur during or after surgery.
Various surgical techniques may be recommended for temporomandibular joint ankylosis, including:
After surgical intervention, patients often undergo physical therapy and rehabilitation to improve jaw function, regain muscle strength, and promote proper jaw movement. This may include exercises and stretches to help the jaw recover its mobility.
Orthodontic treatment, such as braces or splints, may be recommended to help stabilize the jaw and maintain proper alignment after surgery.
It’s difficult to completely prevent TMJ ankylosis, but taking certain steps can help lower the risk of developing it. These steps include:
Not all cases of TMJ ankylosis can be prevented. If you experience persistent jaw pain, limited mouth opening, or other symptoms related to your TMJ, contact our dentist in Grand Haven for an appointment.
Unfortunately, TMJ ankylosis is a permanent condition that cannot go away on its own. Once the temporomandibular joint becomes stiff or fused, it’s no longer able to move freely. Treatment will be necessary for managing symptoms.
A diagnosis of TMJ ankylosis is typically made based on a patient’s medical history, symptoms, and physical examination of the jaw. Imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs may also be used to evaluate the extent of the damage and assess the best course of treatment.
No, TMJ ankylosis is not a form of arthritis. While rheumatoid arthritis can contribute to the development of TMJ ankylosis, they’re separate conditions. TMJ ankylosis results from the growth of bone or scar tissue and leads to the joint becoming stiff or fused, while arthritis is an inflammatory condition that affects the joints.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of TMJ ankylosis or have any concerns about your jaw joint health, speak with our dentist. They can thoroughly evaluate your jaw and provide a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Don’t wait until symptoms worsen. Early TMJ ankylosis intervention can help prevent further damage and improve your quality of life. Contact our Grand Haven office today at (616) 842-2850 to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards better temporomandibular joint health.