What is TMJ?

The jaw muscles and joints that allow us to open and close our mouths are referred to as the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). These joints are located on each side of the face and control the mandible (i.e., lower jaw) as it moves backward, forward and side to side, the temporomandibular joints work together whenever we speak, chew or swallow. In addition, these are the joints that connect the jaw to the skull.

The Inner Workings of the Temporomandibular Joints

Each temporomandibular joint consists of a ball and socket joint with a shock-absorbing disc in between: this disc essentially cushions the load placed on the joint, allowing us to comfortably open, close, glide and rotate our jaw.

The bones that interact with these joints are covered with cartilage. The movement remains smooth due to the shock-absorbing disc. However, any issue that affects the ability of the temporomandibular joints’ complex system of ligaments, muscles, bones and discs to work together could lead to a painful condition referred to as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) or temporomandibular joint syndrome, or, simply, TMJ.

Common symptoms of TMJ include:

  • Aching in and around the ear.
  • Jaw tenderness or pain.
  • Facial pain.
  • Difficulty chewing.
  • Temporomandibular joint pain (one or both joints).
  • Pain while chewing.
  • Difficulty opening or closing the mouth.

Treating TMJ

For the most part, the symptoms associated with this condition are temporary. The pain and discomfort experienced can be addressed using nonsurgical treatments or self-managed care. Surgical intervention is always the last resort: Only being considered after conservative measures fail.

What Causes TMJ?

Sometimes, the reason a person develops temporomandibular joint disorder is difficult to determine because pain can result due to a variety of factors, including cartilage damage caused by arthritis, a jaw injury or even genetic issues like incorrect tooth and jaw alignment. People who clench their teeth regularly or who have bruxism, a condition in which someone subconsciously grinds his or her teeth while asleep, are at a higher risk of developing TMJ; however, there are people who clench their teeth or have bruxism and never develop temporomandibular joint disorders.

Is It Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or Something Else?

A TMJ disorder typically causes clicking sounds and irritating sensations when opening the mouth or while chewing. If you are not experiencing any limitation of movement or clicking in your jaw, then you most likely do not have TMJ.

When to Seek Treatment

If you cannot open or close your jaw all the way, or if you are experiencing persistent tenderness or pain in your jaw, contact the Heritage Oral Surgery and Implant Center location that is the most convenient for you today. We can help determine what is causing your pain. Once we have a diagnosis, your personalized treatment plan will be created. We have offices located in Valencia, Palmdale and West Valley, California.

What to Expect After Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery

Wisdom teeth removal is one of the most common dental surgeries dentists perform. After all, millions of Americans get their wisdom teeth removed every year, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. So, if your dentist recommends you get your wisdom teeth removed, don’t panic. Many other people just like you have had them removed.

But you’re probably wondering just how long the recovery will take, and what you’ll experience in the hours, days, and weeks following their removal?

How Long Will It Take to Recover from Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery

The recovery process after getting your “teeth pulled” varies for everyone, but in general, you can likely expect your recovery time to happen within two weeks, with gradual improvement every day. The wisdom teeth removal surgery healing process can be broken down into stages as follows.

  • The first day: Blood clots form
  • Two to three days: You find that your swelling has decreased.
  • One week: If you have remaining stitches, your dentist can remove them now.
  • One week to ten days: Jaw soreness should dissipate
  • Two weeks: Mild bruising should heal

If a blood clot becomes dislodged, your healing and recovery could be longer. Therefore, it’s essential to not “play” with these blood clots to accidentally remove them.

Tips to Help With Healing from Wisdom Teeth Removal

To assist your recovery and healing from having your teeth pulled, practice all post-wisdom teeth instruction tips provided by your dentist, which may include the following:

  • Refraining from sucking through straws for at least 24 hours after your surgery to prevent dislodging a blood clot.
  • Using an ice pack on the outside of the extraction site to help with swelling and bruising
  • Avoiding drinking hot beverages and eating hot foods for three or four days.
  • Eating soft foods, such as mashed potatoes, jello, soft noodles, mashed bananas and soups. while avoiding foods that require chewing,
  • Avoiding eating any foods that are sticky or chewy.
  • Refraining from brushing your teeth residing near your extraction sites.
  • Rinsing with an antiseptic mouth rinse if and when your dentist advises.
  • Rinsing with warm salt water as needed and as directed by your dentist.

Remember, everyone heals differently from a tooth extraction, so always follow the instructions given by your dental professional. You can find important do’s and don’ts following wisdom removal surgery on our website here.

Potential Complications from Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery

Complications after wisdom teeth removal are rare. However, if you experience fever, pain, yellow or white pus around the wound, you may have developed an infection. If you develop intense throbbing, it may be indicative of a dry socket whereby your newly formed blood clots were lost or formed improperly. If you experience any of the above symptoms, call your dentist right away.

If you have any questions about wisdom teeth removal at Heritage Oral Surgery & Implant Centers, give us a call at one of our offices: Valencia 661-253-3500, West Valley (818) 703-8200, or Palmdale (661) 538-1400.

 

What is the Recovery Period Like After Oral Surgery?

Dental implants and other dental procedures that require oral surgery require some recovery time. Oral surgery is like any other type of surgery. For example, you will probably be given some form of anesthesia. There are many other conditions that exist or can develop after oral surgery, which will affect your recovery period.

Nausea

You may experience nausea or vomiting during the recovery period. This is often a side effect of the anesthesia. Your doctor can recommend some anti-nausea remedies to alleviate these feelings.

Trouble Eating and Drinking

Your mouth, teeth and/or gums will be sensitive following oral surgery. It’s helpful to stock up on some recommended food and drink items so they’re ready when you come home after oral surgery. Ask your doctor for a list of items that will be suitable depending on your procedure. In addition, certain foods and drinks will be prohibited immediately following your oral surgery, so be sure to stay away from those particular items.

Bleeding

If you’ve had certain procedures, such as a wisdom tooth extraction, you may experience some residual bleeding from the site. Typically, applying pressure with sterile gauze for a period of time will stem the bleeding. Try not to swallow any of the blood, since that can exacerbate stomach upset. Excess bleeding or bleeding that doesn’t respond to pressure and gauze should be reported to your doctor.

Swelling

Oral surgery is traumatic to the tissues in and around your mouth. As such, you may experience swelling in the area. Swelling is caused when white blood cells race to the “scene” to initiate healing. In fact, a little swelling is a sign that your body is reacting normally. Swelling may look and feel uncomfortable, but it will typically go down on its own within about 24 hours after oral surgery.

Plan on resting at home after oral surgery. You won’t feel like going back to work for two or three days at least. Follow your doctor’s instructions and let their office know if you’re experiencing anything that feels unusual or worrying. After you’ve recovered from oral surgery, you can look forward to improved oral health for many years to come!