Surgical Treatment of Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders.

The Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ) connects the lower jaw to the skull. It acts as a sliding hinge during the opening and closing of the mouth.

What problems may take a patient to see a doctor?

Pain and difficulty chewing make a patient look for help.
When pain is experienced in the TMJ area, it’s possible that it’ll radiate to the ears, cheeks or give headaches. A patient may feel jaw fatigue, stiffness, and clicking sounds. In some cases, the mouth cannot be opened sufficiently or can become locked at some range of motion.

What TMJ disorders are treated surgically?

In general, there must be structural damage to the joint caused by:

  • arthritis
  • injuries
  • tumours
  • developmental abnormalities
  • anterior disc displacement
  • destructions caused by rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, mixed connective tissue disease

These can be treated surgically.

When would surgical treatment be considered?

The lack of help from anti-inflammatory medications, orthodontic appliances (splints) and physiotherapy for structural disorders of TMJs would indicate the need for surgical treatment.

What can be done surgically?

  • Arthroscopy
  • Discoplasty
  • Arthroplasty
  • Temporo-Mandibular Joint Replacement

What are the goals of surgical treatments?

The main goals are to get rid of pain and to improve the function of the joint.

What will cover the treatment?

MSP covers the surgical treatment of TMJ disorders.

How to organize a consultation?

Please bring a referral letter from your Family Doctor.

What to expect during the consultation?

You will have a thorough physical examination of your head, neck and the TMJs. Special x-ray, CT Scan and MRI scan will be done to help with a decision about the need for any surgery.


All surgical and non-surgical results are subject to the individualities of the patient and the normal variability of clinical procedure results. For more information, review our full disclaimer