Arthrocentesis and TMJ Disorder

Bite and tooth models

If you suffer from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, you may have had moments where you swore you were willing to try anything to stop the pain – including surgery. Though there aren’t many surgical procedures that specifically address TMJ disorder, there are some. One particular procedure, arthrocentesis, is the initial procedure doctors perform on patients with TMJ disorder, with more serious procedures to follow if the arthrocentesis is not a success.

Arthrocentesis is done by injecting hypodermic needles or an arthroscope into the joints and flushing the joints with either saline or a Ringer’s solution (a medical solution of several salts dissolved in water). This reduces inflammation, adhesions and other excess tissue that has accumulated in the joint, helping it to move more freely.

Following the procedure, there may be some pain and swelling for several days, but patients generally return to work within two to three days after their surgery. Arthrocentesis is considered the least invasive surgery for TMJ disorder, but even despite its lack of invasiveness, it isn’t for everyone. In fact, many TMJ disorder sufferers can find relief with much less invasive methods, including neuromuscular orthodontics.

Neuromuscular orthodontics use orthodontic devices to reposition the jaw to achieve optimal alignment without needles or invasive surgery. Though neuromuscular orthodontic treatment may take longer to complete than a surgical procedure, the results are long-lasting and are often the only intervention that is needed.

Before you head to a surgeon to schedule an arthrocentesis procedure, visit Dr. George and learn more about your options with neuromuscular orthodontics first. It could save you a lot of unnecessary pain. For more information, please call 724-220-2347.

Dr. Alexandra S. George

Medically reviewed by Dr. Alexandra S. George - D.D.S., L.Vl.I.F. on November 11th, 2019