Do you suffer from jaw joint pain that isn't improving with non-invasive treatments such as anti-inflammatory medications, bite-splints or physiotherapy? What is your next step? Is there anything else that can be done?
Of course there is! One very effective treatment that I offer is called arthrocentesis.
What is arthrocentesis?
Arthrocentesis is a minimally invasive procedure wherein saline is used to flush out pain-inducing inflammatory chemicals that have been produced by your body, out of the jaw joint. Two small needles are inserted into the jaw joint; one is used to push the saline into the joint and the other is used to extract it. The procedure usually takes about 10 minutes to complete and may be performed under local or general anaesthetic.
How do I know if I need this?
Arthrocentesis is aimed at reducing pain within the temporomandibular (jaw) joint and improving the range of movement of the jaw. It is usually offered to patients who have not had any improvement in symptoms with the use of a bite splint or physiotherapy.
How do I know if this will help?
At the very start of the procedure, a long lasting local anaesthetic is injected into the jaw joint. Any pain emanating from the joint should therefore be elimated at least for the duration of the procedure. This is a diagnostic benefit of the procedure. Pain that is not eliminated during the procedure itself is caused from a factor outside of the joint and therefore is not ameanable to treatment by further surgical procedures within the joint. Furthermore, the action of removing pain-inducing inflammatory chemicals from the joint should reduce pain even after the anaesthetic has worn off. This is the therapeutic benefit of the procedure
Do I need physiotherapy after the procedure?
Most people will have seen a physiotherapist before the procedure and will be advised to continue treatment following the procedure in order to gain maximum benefit. Similarly, you should continue wearing any bite splint that you have been given.
Make an appointment with me to discuss if arthrocentesis is a suitable option to treat your jaw joint pain.