The temperomandibular joint is the hinge and sliding joint between your lower jaw (mandible) and the bone at the bottom of your skull (the temporal bone). The joint is wrapped in a fibrous capsule and inside is a synovial membrane which secretes fluid to keep the joint lubricated. Between the two bones is a disc otherwise known as a meniscus. Many of the problems of the TMJ are caused by damage or displacement of this disc.
The most common problem related to the TMJ is displacement of the disc caused by clenching and grinding of the teeth or injuries to the jaw. This displacement leads to clicking, locking and pain and over time causes the joint to wear out prematurely leading to osteoarthritis. As well as osteoarthritis, the TMJ is also susceptible to all diseases at any other joint such as, rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
Symptoms of TMJ conditions vary, but the most common are:
Some common causes and risks factors for TMJ damage are:
A TMJ disorder is difficult to determine because the pain is often felt in the ear and a lot of people don’t appreciate that the TMJ is a joint like any other therefore can develop the same diseases. For example, when people have pain in their knee they assume it is arthritis but when they have pain in their TMJ they are unlikely to think they are suffering with arthritis.
Current treatment options usually start from simple interventions like rest and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). Arthroscopies are a less common procedure, however, Mr. Luke Cascarini is the only surgeon in the UK who has developed a technique to fix the disc position using arthroscopic surgery. Sometimes open joint procedures are required for removing failed discs, fat grafting and rarer still, joint replacement surgery which is considered a last resort.
At The Regenerative Clinic, a new non-surgical treatment is available using fat (adipose) which is taken from your belly, and injected, using ultra-sound guidance into the TMJ. An innovative processing of the fat, using a technique called Lipogems cleans and purifies the fat, activating the Mesenchymal Stem Cells and harnessing your bodies own natural ability to repair. Find out more about Lipogems®.
If you would like to discuss this new treatment option, please make an enquiry or arrange an appointment with our specialist below.
You’ll see our expert Maxillofacial and Head and Neck Surgeon consultant, Mr. Luke Cascarini for around 30 minutes. Either before or on the day, we’ll arrange for you to have an MRI scan so that an imaging report is ready for your appointment. As well as reviewing this with you, Mr. Cascarini will take your medical history, discuss your symptoms, carry out a physical examination and discuss all the treatment options with you, and their potential benefits and risks. Occasionally a diagnostic nerve block injection is required.
Lipogems® Adipose Tissue therapy is a minimally invasive treatment which uses your own fat tissue to promote healing. It is particularly beneficial for people with painful joints and a limited range of motion.
Fat is essential for cushioning and supporting joints and helping the repair of damaged and injured tissue. Lipogems® therapy involves fat cells being taken from your abdomen while you are sedated with a local anaesthetic. Your collected fat is processed in the Lipogems® device which rinses and cleans inflammatory oils and blood and keeps the natural and beneficial properties of the fat tissue. This is then injected into your TMJ joint to help naturally heal the damaged area.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy, also known as autologous conditioned plasma, takes advantage of the blood’s natural healing properties to repair damaged cartilage, tendons, ligaments, muscle and bone. It can reduce pain and improve joint function.
With a higher concentration of growth factors than typically found in blood, PRP injections support the restoration of injured tissue and inhibit painful inflammatory processes.
This treatment is widely researched and supported in clinical papers. See our PRP evidence section.