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When the pain, locking or dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)—the jaw joint—cannot be relieved by traditional nonsurgical care, a dentist with special training in the areas of facial pain and TMJ treatment may refer a patient to a surgeon.

There are three main types of TMJ surgery:

  • Arthroscopy—TMJ arthroscopy uses a very small fiberoptic arthroscope (a telescope-like instrument) to look and operate inside the jaw joint. Because this surgery is minimally invasive, requiring only a very small incision, it spares the joint considerable trauma.
  • Arthroplasty—TMJ arthroplasty requires an incision into the joint in front of the ear to allow the surgeon to resurface the joint to restore its function.
  • Total joint replacement—Total joint replacement for TMJ involves removing the actual joint and placing an artificial one in its place. This procedure is similar to a hip or knee replacement, but on a much smaller scale. Total joint replacement for the TMJ is not a procedure for everyone. There are specific criteria for its use set by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

Our team of oral and maxillofacial surgeons is involved in the latest advances in the field of TMJ surgery. They are led by Dr. David Hoffman, who worked with a world-renowned biomedical engineer to develop a patented, state-of-the-art, custom-made TMJ replacement and has pioneered several TMJ surgical procedures. The special technique of suturing a displaced TMJ disk along with a laser repair has been partly developed here.

The operating rooms at Staten Island University Hospital have the latest and most sophisticated equipment. TMJ procedures are usually performed under general anesthesia, with the patient going home the same day of surgery.