Recently, several studies have demonstrated a relationship between bacterial infections and degenerative TMJ disease. A study by Drs. Hughs, Hudson and Wolford published in the Journal of Maxillofacial Surgery (2000) found the bacteria, Chlamydia trachomatis, associated with the sexually transmitted disease Chlamydia, were present in 65% of a TMJ surgery patient group. Other studies have reported the presence of more than one bacterial species commonly found in the urogenital tract present in the TM joint.
Many TMD-TMJ practitioners are now screening patients who present with TM joint internal derangement or degenerative joint disease for these bacteria. Your physician can order a simple blood test for the presence of these bacteria and if detected may recommend treatment with antibiotics. Additionally, this test should be repeated in patients with continued TM joint pain following otherwise successful treatment for TMD symptoms. It may be the key to ultimate success in relief of pain and dysfunction for many TMD-TMJ sufferers.