TMJ Surgery Versus the Alternative Lightwire Functional Appliance
Individuals who have been diagnosed with a Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder usually also suffer from other symptoms such as fibromyalgia, facial pain, neck, and shoulder pain, as well as also back pain and headaches. These individuals also grind or clench their teeth and are often recommended to wear a bite guard, which at times only gives temporary relief.
With the biteguard therapy, TMJ surgery is sometimes also recommended to the patient, especially if their symptoms still persist. Unfortunately, this treatment does not solve the root of the problem, which is a misaligned upper and lower jawbone. If the upper and lower jawbones are placed in their proper alignment, TMJs are amazingly able to heal and correct themselves. Remember TMJ surgery is irreversible, and may not be necessary.
I had the opportunity to treat a 32-year-old female patient, who came to me for a second opinion. The patient had had three years of TMJ therapy with a bite appliance and within the last year was recommended for TMJ surgery. Her symptoms were facial, head, and neck pain on the right side. She was also suffering from lower back pain. She was advised that TMJ surgery would eliminate her pain, but unfortunately after surgery the pain increased. Due to the surgery she was forced to deal with drastic facial changes and severe bite problems. Prior to surgery her face was wide and displayed a prominent lower jawbone. After surgery her face became narrow and elongated.
After my examination, it was concluded that the treatment she needed was the Advanced Lightwire Functional (ALF) appliance, to align her maxilla (upper jaw) and mandible (lower jaw) into their proper positions in relation to her skull and spine. As a result of accepting treatment her symptoms are gradually disappearing.
In the treatment of TMJ disorders, it is important to recognize that if a patients bite is off it forces the TMJ into a bad position. If this is the case no surgical procedure is going to correct the bad bite. The ALF appliance is a successful non-surgical treatment that can be effective for treating TMJ problems.