Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is not only a very painful condition affecting the jaw, but can also put a huge strain on your day to day life. There are a number of things that you can do to protect your temporomandibular joint, but what can you do if you already have TMJ? X. Lucas Lu from the University of Delaware believes he has found a solution to the problem, a bioorthogonal polymer that can replace lost cartilage in the temporomandibular joint.

Man in pain, holding his jaw.

We Can Rebuild Him

TMJ is often caused by degeneration of cartilage in the temporomandibular joint. This degeneration can lead to a misaligned bite and if it is not corrected with the proper method of treatment (such as a neuromuscular appliance)then nerve damage is likely to follow.

Lu’s method of treatment differs in that he is aiming to essentially rebuild a damaged temporomandibular joint. However, there is some slight differences in the joint compared to something like a knee. “TMJ condylar cartilage is made up of a unique fibrous superficial layer, composed of mainly collagen fibers, covering the hyaline cartilage.” Lu went on to elaborate that this fibrous layer is essential to the operation of the joint and so the synthetic cartilage. The synthetic cartilage that they developed essentially acts as a frame that the natural tissue can build around. The only major downside being that the procedure would be very invasive.

Don’t Be Hasty

Although Dr. Lu’s replacement cartilage is a long way from being available, there are replacement temporomandibular joints available. Unfortunately, they often have serious complications. It is important to consult with a doctor or a TMJ dentist before you make a decision about your TMJ. It is likely that TMJ surgery is not entirely necessary and there are things you can do at home in addition to professional care that can help alleviate some of the pain. If you are in Denver and have any questions about TMJ or are in need to a TMJ dentist, please give TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado at (303) 691-0267.