TMJ Disorders and Surgery


TMJ surgery is an involved procedure not performed by most oral & maxillofacial surgeons. Many offices tend to dabble in this procedure performing a handful each year. At Arizona Jaw Surgery, We do jaw surgery. And nothing else.

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are a family of problems related to your jaw joint. If you have had symptoms like pain or a “clicking” sound, you’ll be glad to know that these problems can be treated more easily and discreetly than they were in the past. These symptoms occur when the joints of the jaw and the chewing muscles do not work together correctly. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the name for each joint (right and left) that connects your jaw to your skull. Since some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important.

Board Certified Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon, Dr. Wasson can help you have a healthier, more comfortable jaw.

Dr. Wasson is the only surgeon in Arizona performing TMJ arthroscopic surgery (minimally invasive and minimal scarring) and who has a practice exclusive to jaw surgery.

Trouble with your jaw?

TMJ disorders can occur for many reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth (called bruxism) which tightens your jaw muscles and stresses your TMJ. You may have a damaged jaw joint due to trauma or disease. If so, the disk, which is made of cartilage and functions as the “cushion” of the jaw joint, can slip out of position causing pain, mis-aligned bite, chewing difficulty, and limited jaw function. Whatever the cause, we can help you with your issue. 

TMJ Treatment

There are various treatment options for TMJ Disorders. As an oral & maxillofacial surgeon, Dr. Wasson performs only surgical treatments for TMJ disorders. This is usually in patients with severe disorders or who have not improved with non-surgical treatments provided elsewhere. It is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach of self-care combined with professional care.

Who is a Candidate for TMJ Surgery?

  • Previous surgical or non-surgical treatment without improvement.
  • Functional limitations to jaw opening and movement that originates in the jaw joint itself (not the jaw muscles).
  • Diseases or illnesses that cause damage to the TM joint itself (arthritis) including Idiopathic Condylar Resorption.
  • Tumors or excessive growths of the lower jaw (mandible) or the TMJ.
  • TMJ conditions that cause malocclusion (misaligned bite).

Many surgeons offer a small number of TMJ surgery options and thus have to fit your condition into their surgical options. Dr. Wasson performs all types of TMJ surgery and prefers to diagnose your condition and treat you with the appropriate treatment whatever that might be. 

What TMJ Surgical Options are there? 

  • TMJ Arthrocentesis
    • This procedure is minimally invasive and requires one to two needles to be inserted into the TMJ to rinse it out and inject medications directly into the joint. 
  • TMJ Arthroscopic Surgery
    • This procedure is also minimally invasive and utilizes a small camera inserted into the TMJ to directly visualize the interior of the joint without making large incisions and creating minimal to no scarring. Once in the joint, several procedures can be performed as indicated.
  • “Open” TMJ Surgery including arthroplasty and discectomy
    • This category of procedures requires a well hidden incision around the folds of your ear to directly open the TMJ. Once inside the joint, several procedures can be performed including disk repositioning, bony recontouring, removal of cyst, tumors, or growths, and even removal of the TMJ disk itself. 
  • Modified Condylotomy (Also called IVRO or Intraoral Vertical Ramus Osteotomy)
    • A unique TMJ Surgical option that does not directly involve surgery on the TMJ itself.  This procedure involves making a cut on the portion of the mandible that includes the condyle (part of the TMJ) and repositioning it in a way that takes pressure off of the TMJ. 
    • This procedure is ideal for patients who wish to not have surgery directly on their TMJ, wish to avoid any possible scars on their face, and may also need minor repositioning of their jaws to help correct their occlusion/bite.
  • Total Joint Replacement (TJR)
    • Reserved for severe cases of TMJ disorders, this procedure requires removal of portions of the TMJ and replacement with a prosthetic joint. 
  • Removal of cysts/tumors/growths of the TMJ

When choosing a TMJ surgeon it is important to work with someone who performs the procedures regularly and offers many surgical options. We are the only practice in Arizona performing ONLY jaw surgery and offer every surgical option available. This allows us to confidently give you treatment choices and not require you to undergo a procedure that may not be ideal for your condition. 

Ready to Schedule a Consultation?

Dr. Wasson offers a number of dental treatments that can keep your mouth healthy and your smile beautiful. Contact us today!
Call us: (480) 896-0600