Currently, arthrocentesis is the treatment indicated for jaw joint disorders and with which the best results are obtained. These ailments affect up to 30% of the general population and produce a decrease in the mouth opening of no more than 20 millimeters.
Arthrocentesis is an intervention that consists of injecting a specific liquid, specifically Ringer Lactate serum, to distend the joint. At that moment the articular disc is released and by means of some movements and manipulations of the patient’s jaw we manage to return it to its original position.
In this way, the articular blockage disappears, reducing the pain, while the function of the joint recovers, almost returning to normal.
The general causes of joint dysfunctions usually lie in a deficient dental occlusion, understanding occlusion as the alignment of the teeth and the assembly of the upper and lower teeth, which is called bite. If it appears disorganized, it can cause a malfunction of the articulation.
Only a very small percentage of people have a perfect or stable dental occlusion. It should also be taken into account that in adulthood there is a loss of teeth and, therefore, a decompensation of the system that affects the joint.
Premature degeneration of the joint will in turn lead to osteoarthritis and jaw problems. Thanks to arthrocentesis, this premature degeneration of the joint and the resulting problems that appear in the longer term are avoided. And, of course, the quality of life of the affected patient is improved.
Many people with this problem come to the doctor only when they feel significant pain, but when they come to our office many have a mouth opening of less than 20 mm. Arthrocentesis has allowed patients with such a problem to go home the day after surgery with an opening of 45 millimeters, equivalent to three fingers.
A single arthrocentesis procedure gives good results, which can be complemented by a more visual procedure, such as arthroscopy of the temporomandibular joint. Arthroscopy is used to distend the joint. This technique consists of introducing a tube with a camera that allows working inside the joint, accurately recovering the problems of the articular disc, suturing it and returning it to its original position.
A good lavage and remodeling of the joint is also achieved.
After the whole procedure, the treatment should be continued with physiotherapy sessions and a follow-up of the unloading splint to be worn by the patient before and after the arthrocentesis.