Temporo- Mandibular Joint (TMJ)

Temporo- Mandibular Joint (TMJ)

What is Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ) problem?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder refers to a group of conditions that lead to pain and dysfunction of the jaw, the TMJ, and its associated facial muscles. The TMJ connects the jawbone to the base of the skull and you can locate it on either side of the head in front of your ears. It acts as a flexible hinge, enabling you to move it from side to side, as well as to speak, chew, and yawn.

TMJ is often misdiagnosed or overlooked by dentists and patients as most patients never expect many of its signs and symptoms related to their dentition

Common complaints if you have a TMJ problem.

  1. Frequent headache or migraine (particularly in the morning)
  2. Ear pain, blockage, or partial hearing loss
  3. Biting or chewing difficulty or discomfort
  4. Clicking or crunching sounds on opening or closing the mouth
  5. Orofacial pain just in front of the ear
  6. Limited jaw movement, locking of the jaw, or muscle spasms
  7. Impaired function when chewing, speaking, or yawning
  8. Neck and shoulder pain

Common causes of TMJ Problem

  1. Trauma/ injury (e.g. a blow to lower face and/ or jaw, biting on very hard food or extremely wide jaw opening)
  2. Bruxism – prolonged stress to the jaw joint from habitual clenching or grinding of the teeth unconsciously during the day or, more commonly, while sleeping. Stress is a common contributing factor
  3. Habits e.g. regular gum chewing, eating on one side
  4. Faulty dental restorations or cracking of existing dental works giving an improper bite
  5. Degenerative TMJ disease e.g. arthritis or wear and tear, certain neurological conditions

What is the process of TMJ Treatment?

  1. Pre-treatment evaluation and Treatment Planning.
    1. Examination & Diagnosis
    2. X-ray and U/L Study models
    3. Medical History Inform your dentist about any heart condition or any serious illness you have or had.
    4. Drug Allergies Inform your dentist about any drug allergies you may have.
  2. Diagnosis of the cause/s of TMJ
  3. Definitive Treatment
    1. Medication
    2. Splint/ Nightguard
    3. Orthodontic Alignment of teeth
    4. Restorative Treatment
  4. Referral to TMJ specialist
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