TMJ Relief

TMJ pain can be a very serious problem. It is not some kind of localized pain, it can spread in different areas of the body making it more difficult. The headache and the neck pain seem they are never going away. Even if TMJ disorder doesn’t receive as much attention as other medical conditions it affects the life of more than 10 million Americans. Having this chronic pain sometimes makes people who suffer from TMJ think there isn’t a cure or treatment for TMD. The truth is that TMJ pain cure exists and not only gets you relief from the pain but also it treats the causes of pain.

TMJ Pain Relief

 

What causes TMD?

There are a lot of factors that can cause TMJ disease. However sometimes in order to suffer from TMD more than one factor is needed. The main causes for TMD include:

  • Bruxism or teeth grinding
  • Habits like biting nails, chewing all day
  • Stress
  • Arthritis
  • Malocclusion
    If you want to know more about TMD causes read our earlier article: Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.

Since temporomandibular disease might be caused by several factors collaborating together the TMD symptoms can be very different from one person to another and sometimes making it difficult to diagnose. The most common TMD symptoms might include:

  • Headache
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Ear Problems
  • Locked Jaw
  • Jaw pain
  • Clicking, popping or grinding sounds
    You can learn more at: TMJ Symptoms
TMJ Relief

 

TMJ pain relief

Over the counter pain medication can always help with TMJ pain. They can give you temporary relief for less severe pain but they can’t solve your problem. You can’t use painkillers forever, you will need a permanent solution for TMJ.
Sometimes doctors prescribe also muscle relaxants or corticosteroids to reduce pain but they also can’t be used indeterminately.
TMJ exercise can help you getting relief but you have to know the proper way of doing them, because if you are doing it in the wrong way you might damage the inflamed TMJ furthermore. Here we have a suggestion for you. TMJ No More manual. This system will show you how to permanently cure TMJ disorder and teeth grinding in just 2 month time. A former TMJ sufferer, medical researcher and health consultant will teach you a simple system for how to:

  1. Get relief from pain in less than 12 hours
  2. Cure TMD in 2 months
  3. Stop the chronic pain and prevent it from coming back
  4. Learn what foods will help and what foods will not
  5. Change lifestyle and eliminate bad habits
  6. improve the quality of your life

You will learn how to get rid of TMJ pain forever and prevent it from coming back without the need to use pain killer drugs and without risky surgical procedures.
The author suffered for different years from TMD. She couldn’t find solution anywhere. And after a lot of research with other specialist they created this manual. After they find out the system was working they tried it in a group of people who had TMJ pain. The following benefits are the one the participants of the experiment described:

  • TMJ condition became manageable very quickly, the pain in the mouth, jaw, neck started to diminish rapidly.
  • The feeling of agitation and tiredness disappeared in a matter of days
  • Their social lives begin to improve and so did their work productivity.
  • They felt happier and more energetic as a consequence felt even younger and more vibrant.

If you are already tired of these continues suffering and want to ban the pain once and for all then the TMJ No More system (click here) might be the right option for you. The truth is that life is difficult as it is, adding constant pain and stress makes it unbearable. If you don’t want to receive surgery or have secondary effect due to excessive uses of drugs these manual can help you with some simple steps. You will learn: what are the causes of pain and the causes of the constant night grinding. You will learn the basic exercise to reestablish jaw function and get relief from all symptoms. You will also learn what foods you should and shouldn’t eat.

 


Jaw Surgery-Orthognathic Surgery Types

Jaw surgery or orthognatic surgery is a surgical procedure for jaw repositioning to correct any eventual imbalance between the upper and the lower jaw. This kind of surgery might be needed when jaws don’t meet correctly causing teeth misaligned, difficulty chewing, biting, swallowing etc.
If the imbalance between jaws is small sometimes all you need are braces, this way the jaws misalignment is camouflaged with correct teeth alignment. While braces and orthodontics can correct teeth alignment problems, orthognatic surgery can solve more complex cases where jaw repositioning is needed.
Corrective jaw surgery may be done to the lower jaw, upper jaw or both of them in the same time depending on the problem. It is performed under general anesthesia and all incisions are performed inside the mouth leaving no visible scar. Pain after jaw surgery is easily controlled with painkillers, and the patient can go back to his normal life after one or two weeks.
Before any surgery the alignment of the teeth might be needed

jaw surgery

Upper jaw problems

  • The maxilla or upper jaw is bigger -Sometimes the maxilla or the upper jaw is not normally developed and tends to grow forward. In these cases the maxilla appears to be longer or bigger, creating an excessive exposure of the gums, the so called gummy smile. This problem can be solved with an orthognatic sugery, where the upper jaw is separated from the rest of the skull and it is positioned superiorly and backwards. It is fixed with plates and screws which osteointegrate in the jaw so another surgery for their removal will not be needed. After the rehabilitation only he the teeth will be visible when the patient smiles.
  • The Maxilla or upper jaw is smaller– In this case the inverse surgery might be needed. The maxilla is divided from the skull and brought forward.
  • Transverse Maxillary Deficiency-When this condition it’s present another kind of jaw surgery could be performed. In these cases the maxilla is tighter than normal. Generally these patient breathe with their mouth since early age, so the nasal pavement it’s not fully developed. In other cases they have sucked their thumb for too long when were little or because they had other abnormal habits that interfere with the normal development of the orthognatic system. If the patient is still young these discrepancy can be solved with the positioning of a rapid palatal expansor. In more severe situation and when the patient it’s not so young a surgery is needed. The maxillary bone is divided surgically in half exactly where the median palatine suture (the suture that connects the left and right part of the maxilla during growth) used to be. The two parts are divided with an orthognatic appliance and the empty space will fill with bone in a short period of time. After this process the maxilla will be larger and will match the lower jaw in the correct way.

Lower jaw problems

  • Mandibular retrognathia- Is a condition where the lower jaw appears weak and a receding chin is present. The procedure needed is called mandibular advancement. During the surgery the lower jaw is separated and it’s brought forward to accompany the position of the upper jaw. The new position of the lower jaw is fixed with plates and screws that osteointegrate and don’t need to be removed after.
  • Mandibular prognathia- The condition where the lower jaw appears too large in confront with the upper jaw. In these cases the surgery needed is the inverse process of what we explained for the mandibular retrognathia. The procedure is called mandibular setback. The mandible is separated and it’s positioned backwards, the excessive parts of the bone are removed and the jaw is fixed again with plates and screws.

Genioplasty

Is a surgery performed when there is no discrepancy between the jaws and there are no bite problems between lower and upper teeth. There is only a chin problem which needs to be reshaped advanced or setback. Part of the chin bone is separated and repositioned forward, backward, rotated etc and it is fixed in the new position with plates and screws. It is not an important procedure as the other one mentioned and the discomfort after is smaller.

Both Jaws are Problematic

Sometimes the problem it’s not located in one of the jaws but in both of them in the same time. This kind of surgery is called bimaxillary surgery. Each jaw can be moved in any direction needed to fully correct the problems

 

Should You Use a Mouth Guard for Grinding Teeth?

If you suffer from the painful and potentially dangerous condition called Bruxism, which is the grinding of teeth while you sleep,or under stress you may be considering treating the condition with a mouth guard. There are a few treatments for Bruxism, but for many people, a mouth guard can solve the problems that come from grinding teeth. However, before you decide upon this particular treatment, you should know exactly what Bruxism is, and how a mouth guard will treat your condition, as well as the pros and the cons to using a mouth guard for Bruxism.

Mouth Guard For Grinding Teeth

What Causes Bruxism?

You might be surprised to learn that there is no consensus as to what causes Bruxism. Most experts agree that stress is the likely candidate. Daily stress that everyone experiences can cause some sufferers to grind their teeth. However, most people that are looking at a mouth guard as a deterrent for their Bruxism suffer it at night while they are sleeping. Some of the specific factors that may influence Bruxism include whether or not teeth are lined up, your own personal clenching habits, posture, your de-stressing habits and diet, exercise and sleeping habits.

How Important is it to Treat Your Bruxism?

Whether you suffer from regular Bruxism or actually suffer from Sleep Bruxism, not dealing with your condition with a mouth guard or some other treatment can lead to some pretty serious consequences. There are many different levels to Bruxism, and while yours might be a mild case, you will still be doing long term damage if you let it go long enough. Some of the most common effects of Bruxism include headaches, damaged teeth and serious jaw disorders. If you have Sleep Bruxism, you may not even know how serious your condition is.

How a Mouth Guard Can Help?

A mouth guard can be a huge help to someone with Bruxism, especially someone who grinds their teeth at night because they will be protecting their teeth from consuming each other and preventing some of the major damage that comes with having Bruxism, such as biting down and damaging the teeth and causing headaches, and jaw problems. In the market there are different kinds of mouthguard, but for bruxisem they are not useful and sometimes thay can cause more problems than they solve.A mouth guard fits the teeth of the upper jaw and is able to eliminate all of those problems. Mouth guards can be a bit uncomfortable to wear at first, but eventually the person with Bruxism does get used to them and they end up having many benefits.

Here we are listing different types of mouth guard, their pros and cons.

The stock mouth guard – they are available in every sports store and they are the less expensive one. They can be very useful in some kind of risky sports to protect your teeth but their use for Bruxism is discouraged by every dentist on the face of the earth.

Boil and bite mouth guards- they are also easy to find in sport stores and they fit better than the first ones. They are made of thermoplastic material which is placed in hot water and than in the mouth so it takes the shape of the teeth. They also are not recommended by dentists for Bruxism treatment because shaping them in the right way is not as easy as it looks.

Custem-fitted mouth guards or nocturnal bite plate- are designed to fit your mouth perfectly and to make all the changes you need to help you get relief from Bruxism. Your dentist takes impressions of your mouth and plans what mouth guard is suitable for your problem. Since your dentist and his lab is going to work for the custom bite then it’s going to be a little expensive.

How to take care of your bite plate (mouth guard)?

Your mouth guard stays in your mouth fort at least 7 hours in your mouth where it stays in contact with saliva bacteria etc. So is very important you to take care of it or it will cause more damage then it solves
• Clean it every morning with a toothbrush and toothpaste, but you also can use normal soap than rinse it thoroughly.
• Use a adapt container to transport it, so you don’t damage or lose it.
• Check once in a while that it stays intact in time. If it gets perforated, it gets loose or it starts causing discomfort, you should immediately take an appointment with your dentist to repair or replace it.

Other Treatments for Bruxism

A mouth guard is not the only treatment that is effective for Bruxism. One treatment that might be effective is some stress management techniques that prevent you from grinding your teeth in the first place. This may not always work, but it often does. This will generally be more effective in children, because the habitual grinding will not have set in yet. If this does not work, then there may be medications that can help to prevent Bruxism from happening, although mouth guards and splints from the dentist are much more common.

 

 

Teeth Grinding Causes

Bruxism is a condition in which a person clenches his teeth (holding tightly lower and upper teeth) or grinds his teeth (sliding teeth back and forth or from side to side). Generally people who clench or grind their teeth are not aware at all, and it is noticed by their partners or family members. It might happen during the day or night, but at night it is thought to cause more damages.

Teeth Grinding Causes

The reasons for teeth clenching or grinding vary widely. The most common causes seem to be:

  • The stress and tension. Every day life has become more stressful nowadays. When a person is under a lot of stress mastication muscles contract causing tightening and clenching of the jaws. The more a person is stressed, the more bruxing or the harder bruxing.
  • Abnormal alignment of teeth or incongruous restorations. This factor is also related to stress or at least enhanced by it. Since teeth are abnormally aligned the jaws don’t close in the right position so they tent to slide until finding the best positions so the mastication muscles can relaxes. But if the misalignment is serious there are chances that the jaw never finds the right position so the muscles stay contracted all day long and after some time starts the TMJ pain.
  • Aggressive personality, frustration and suppressed anger.Many psychologists believe these conditions are the main cause for clenching and grinding teeth during the day.
  • Physiological growth. In children under 6 years old bruxism is a normal condition during development. Bruxisem is a natural response to the changes in the jaws and teeth. But this condition must be temporary, if it persists longer than it becomes a pathological condition and a visit to the dentist is needed.
  • Abnormal posture of the body. Leads to abnormal position of the vertebral colon, so abnormal contraction of the neck muscles. These abnormal contractions of the neck muscles causes imbalance of the jaws and so on teeth clenching or teeth grinding.
  • Sleep disorders. Different studies have shown that persons who suffer from sleep disorders like sleep apnea ,snore loudly, daytime sleepiness have a greater risk of grinding their teeth. Other risk factors might be: sleep talking, sleep paralysis, hypnagogic/hypnopompic hallucinations etc.
  • Lifestyle. Bad habits more than causes of bruxism are risk factors. Some of the them are: regular drinking of alcoholic beverages, smoking tobacco or drinking caffeine (more than six cups a day). Also other bad habits like keeping objects in your mouth like pencils or else could cause teeth clenching and teeth grinding. Another factor would be biting your nails.
  • Drugs and medications. Some studies have shown that certain drug like antidepressants could cause teeth grinding and clenching. These results aren’t proved yet.
  • Complications of other conditions and diseases. Some disease like Parkinson and Huntington can cause teeth grinding during the day or at night. Huntington’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects muscle coordination. Parkinson Disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that affects the person’s motor skills.

There are several symptoms of Bruxism. The most common one are similar with TMJ Symptoms like:

  • Wear teeth down
  • Chipped teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • TMJ Disorder
  • Headache and neck pain

Teeth grinding and clenching can bring a lot of problems to the jaw, teeth or muscles if not treated. As soon as you are feeling some of these symptoms you should go to e dentist to receive the proper treatment and prevent any further problem.

Related Article: Bruxism

TMJ Exercises

As we said earlier in other articles Temporomandibular Joint problems can be frustrating. They are accompanied with headaches, pain of the joint when opening or closing the mouth, neck pain etc. Since the TMJ joint is a complicated jaw the source of the problem differs from one person to another. This means that even the treatments differ from one person to another, and also the time of the treatment differs from person to person.

TMJ exercises

TMJ disease can be caused by different conditions and one of the most common causes is the tension of the muscles due to their imbalance. Stress causes teeth clenching and grinding which increases the tension of the muscles causing pain. The easier remedies for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder are TMJ exercises. There are different types of exercises and some are so simple that can be done at home and may relief your pain in a couple of days.

The TMJ exercises not only will help you with the symptoms and the discomfort but they might also resolve the muscular tension that is causing the Temporomandibular Disease. All you need is determination and patience. TMJ physical therapy will e serve several purposes like strengthen masticator muscles, loosen the tension of the masticator muscles, eliminate the clicking and popping of the jaw and the most important thing they eliminate the pain and symptoms of TMD.

First of all remember that the most important thing to do to stop jaw pain is the adequate rest of the joint; this means eating soft foods like soup, boiled vegetables, pasta etc. Do not chew gums all day long and avoid opening your mouth wide for different reasons like yawning.

If you are feeling acute pain you should take a wood stick like the one used in ice-creams or a pencil and keep it between your front teeth like you are trying to cut it in half until the pain reduces. This helps relaxing the masticator muscles stopping the pain. Then try out at home these exercises we are giving.

TMJ Stretches - The best TMJ exercises you can do are the stretching exercise to help you relive the tension of the muscles. Before you start any physical therapy you need to heat up your joint and the muscles by using a warm wet cloth, or by using a HEAT PAD that are even simpler to use. These heat pads have a metal coin that you have to press and they start to heat up. While you heat up the joint you should move your lower jaw from side to side, also open and close your mouth.

After a couple of minutes start with the stretching exercise.

  • Put your index finger on your lower anterior teeth and push down stretching the muscles until they feel tight and hold it for 6 seconds or even 10 if you can. Remember to hold the warm cloth or heat pad on the joint.
  • The second exercise is to take a ruler, put it on your mouth and measure how much you open your mouth. You should open it to 40-45 mm or more if you can.
  • After you have finished all that take an ice cube and put it to your joint, careful not over your muscles or face but directly on the joint and keep it for 5-10 seconds.

These TMJ stretches will reduce the pain and discomfort in a couple of days and you should start to open your mouth without problems. If the pain persists, you still can’t open your mouth for at least 40-45 mm or if you feel pain while exercising than stop and you really need to go to a dentist, because maybe you need a more invasive therapy.

TMJ exercises - This exercises intent to strengthen the jaw muscles so you will have less popping or clicking and will prevent any locking of the jaw in the future, stabilizing your jaw.

TMJ-ExercisesStarting from the right side with two right fingers push the jaw to the left. Put your fingers near the chin and push but don’t let the jaw move. It should last for 5 seconds.

 

 

 

 

TMJ-ExercisesRepeat the same thing from the left side.

 

 

 

 

 

TMJ-ExercisesPut your thumb down your chin and push your jaw like you want to close it but at the same time press your jaw against your thumb. Do this exercise for 5 seconds.

 

 

 

 

 

TMJ-ExercisesPut your thumb on the anterior part of the chin and push it as you want to push the jaw back on your ear. The same thing here put pressure on both thumb and jaw against each other for 5 seconds

 

 

 

 

Neck Stretch - Stand up straight, extend your head back like you are looking at the ceiling and hold for 5 seconds. You should feel a stretch in your throat. Then the opposite dropping your head forward like looking at the floor feeling a little stretch on the back of the neck. The same here hold for 5 seconds.

Temporal massage - Massage the area of your temples with three fingers with rotating movements for about 10 seconds. The same massage try on the jaw, putting your fingers below and in front of your ear. This movement massages the masseter muscles that are the one that gets most of the pressure.

You should do these exercises one time, once a day in the first week and twice around, once a day for the second and third week. Then the fourth and fifth week do these exercises twice around twice a day. The best timing would be in the mornings and before going to bed.

All these exercises will help you get some relief from TMD Pain, but we cant say that all people are the same. So we cant really say how much time is needed to stop the pain or if it will stop forever. So if the TMJ symptoms persist you should go to a doctor because maybe your TMJ Disorder can have other causes than tension of the mastication muscles and might need a different TMJ treatment.

TMJ Treatment

In USA ¼ of people show signs of e temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Most of the time the symptoms disappear on their own without the need for professional treatment, because of the great capacity of the joint to adapt in different conditions. Only 5-10 % of people with TMD symptoms need treatment.

The majority of people with TMJ disorder are woman and that is explained by the laxity of their tissues. They represent 90% of the patients who seek help. Most of the time TMD treatments are simple and can be done at home as long as you follow correctly your dentist advices. Only rarely severe cases may need invasive treatments with splints, surgery etc.

TMJ Treatment

Self-care measures

The most important measure when you are experiencing TMD symptoms is resting the jaw. Stop bad habits like keeping objects in your mouth most of the time, or even chewing gums all day. Do not stay in difficult positions when studying or sleeping, like pressing in the jaw. Use soft foods like fish, soup, well cooked vegetables etc, and avoid any hard foods for some time.
Massage your muscles as directed by your doctor might help relieving the discomfort, also some exercise might help.
Also applying heat or ice bags on the side of the jaw that you feel discomfort can help relaxing the muscles and so help you feel better.
You can take over the counter pain killers to stop the pain, but careful if the pain persist for more than 2 weeks you should talk about it with your dentist and he can choose another suitable therapy for you.

Painkillers. If the usual painkillers, over the counter medications aren’t helping you to stop the pain, your dentist may prescribe stronger painkillers.

Antianxiety medications. A low dose of tricyclic anti depressant like amitriptyline taken at bed time help stop top the pain.

Muscle relaxants. Can be use for a few days to relieve the pain of TMD. Managing stress with massages, yoga or counseling are also helpful to reduce the pain.

Corticosteroids. If you are experiencing severe pain and TMJ inflammation, these drugs can be injected directly in the joint space to stop pain.

Botulinum toxin. Injecting it ( Botox) into the jaw muscles may relieve the pain.

Bite guard or splints. Grinding and clenching your teeth can stress you muscles and a bite guard can help reduce the stress. Bite guard are designed to keep your jaw in a more relaxed position, preventing also clenching and grinding your teeth. They prevent the usury of the teeth’s occlusal surfaces that if happens will enhance your pain. There are different types of mouth guard and only your doctor can decide what is best for you. Some of them fit the upper teeth, some the lower teeth. The latest types fit only the first teeth and they function just by separating the back teeth, so the muscles used for mastication can relax.

Cognitive behavioral therapy. If you poorly manage stress or anxiety your doctor may refer you to a psychotherapist so you can change bad behaviors, manage stress and anxiety a learn relaxation technique.

Occlusal Equilibration. If your TMJ symptoms are not caused by structural disorder but from interferences on your teeth due to incongruous restorations, crowns or dental bridges, your dentist will rebuild them in the correct way. It involves reshaping of the biting surfaces and the alignment of the teeth, but if done by not experience dentist it may worsen your symptoms.

Surgical procedure. Are absolutely the last resort. They are performed under general or local anesthesia depending on the type of surgery.
1. Arthrocentesis. Is a minor surgical procedure, done by inserting a needle into the affected joint space by the ear, than sterile solutions like steroids, lubrificants or other medications are irrigated to remove debridis and inflammatory byproducts.
2. Arthroscopy. This is a more invasive procedure. The surgeon makes an incision at the temple in front of the ear to reach an endoscope into the surrounding area. It makes it possible for the surgeon to see the area and so he can remove any adhesion, reposition the disk or treat an inflammation.
3. Open-joint surgery. It is used in case of severe problems of the TMJs like tumors, chipped bones, severe scarring etc.

Home Page: TMJ Symptoms

Tmj Symptoms

Tmj disorders can be caused by a variety of medical condition, and we mentioned the most common of them earlier in the article TMJ disorder. Since the causes of TMJ disorder can vary in a wide range they can be muscular, nevralgic, etc sometimes they are difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be confused with other condition. If not treated in time TMD can cause severe permanent damage for tmjs and the surrounding tissues. People with TMD can feel discomfort or even severe pain and they are chronic most of the time.

TMJ Symptoms

The most common symptoms of Temporomandibular joint disorder include:

Headache- Is one of the most common symptoms but is also the easiest symptom to confuse with other condition like migraine. The pain usually happens on the forehead region, temple region and in the back of the head.

Neck And Shoulder Pain- Very often TMD patient feel neck pain, that’s because the regular function of tmjs is related with the balance of jaw-skull. Any discomfort of tmjs causes imbalance problems will twist the jaw into a straitened position that refers pain in the neck muscle, shoulders and back. This has a simple explanation. Since muscles work as a team, contacted muscles of the jaw will make the head lean in not a normal position. That will cause compensation from the back, shoulder and neck muscles.

Facial Pain- When the lower jaw (mandible) is imbalanced all the surrounding tissue like: bones, muscles and nerves get affected. Especially the face muscles will experience contraction and strain when working harder trying to compensate the unaligned jaw.

Ear Problems- There is a variety of symptoms in the ear that TMD patient can experience. Ringing ears or tinnitus is one of them. Is often confused for ear infection but it is present in 33 % of the patients and the symptom disappears as soon as the bite is corrected. A lot of people who have TMS might experience even ear pain (otalgia), and we are talking about 50 % of them. The pain usually happens in the morning, around the areas in front or below the ear. Another symptom of TMD can be fullness of the ear described as clogged, muffled or full ears. These might be cause by eustachian-tube dysfunction, the anatomical structure responsible for regulatin the pressure in the middle ear. The hyperactivity of the muscles of in TMD patient can cause problems when opening or closing the eustachian tube. Other symptoms related with ears are: loss of hearing, impaired hearing ,dizziness (vertigo) and loss of balance.

Clicking, Popping, or Grinding sounds- Are the most common symptoms of TMD. Most of the people don’t feel pain when these sounds are made. The cause of these symptoms most of the time is a dislocated dick. As we said in the other article about TMJ, it is made of 3 components: Condyle, articular disk and the socket ( glenoid fossa). If the disk is dislocate then the other two structures come in contact when opening or closing the mouth, rubbing against each other causing the typical sounds like clicks, or popping. There are a lot of people with TMD that feel pain when this happens, the pain can even very problematic, making it difficult to speech or eat.

Locked Jaw- If the previous symptoms are left untreated foe a long time they can precipitate in locked jaw. The mouth gets blocked in a closed or open position, causing great pain. This is a condition that needs professional help. Your dentist can help you close your mouth when it is blocked in open position with an easy maneuver, or can prescribe you pills to stop muscle spasms.

Sensitive and Sore Teeth- These is a common symptom of TMD, especially if the cause of the TMD are the teeth. They may become sensitive to clenching or grinding, action that is often seen in TMD. Sometimes it’s difficult to diagnose this condition and the dentist can perform a root canal therapy or even extraction on your teeth aggravating the situation.

Jaw pain- Since people with TMD have imbalanced bite, these causes improper pressure in the jaw bone. In time these pressure will dissolve the bone or extra bony projection will build up as compensation. These might relief from pain but will also cause permanent damage to the jaw, and so on to the facial structure.
If you are feeling any of these symptom you should seek professional help as soon as you can, to prevent any aggravation of the condition that will then need invasive treatment.

Home Page: TMJ Symptoms

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

What is the Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJD or shortly TMD is an acute or chronic inflammation of the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint). In the first article we talked about the temporomandibular joint, its anatomy and structure. As we said the Temporomandibular Joints are complex structures that include tendons, bones and muscles. Every one of these components helps the jaw joint functioning.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

The Temporomandibular Joint Disorders can be caused by different conditions like:

  • Bruxism- grinding or clenching your teeth puts pressure on the muscles and other structures surrounding the jaw causing tmj problems like jaw pain, earache, headache, mastication problems etc. Most of the people don’t even notice this behavior, so they don’t even take treatment causing permanent damage to teeth and jaw.
  • Bad habits- like biting fingernails, chewing gum all day. Also keeping hard objects in your mouth cause trauma and modification of your teeth and muscle fatigue causing later on Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.
  • Trauma- due to accidents or fights they can cause inflammation or fractures to the TMJs causing temporary or permanent TMJ disorders.
  • Stress- by itself it doesn’t cause any damage to the TMJs. But stress causes people to unconsciously grind their teeth or clench them, biting fingernails etc. All these kind of activity puts a lot of pressure on the TMJs and the surrounding tissues.
  • Osteoarthritis- or other degenerative joint disease like fibrous or bony ankylosis, development abnormality, pathological lesions of the temporomandibular joint.
  • Malocclusion- it can be a dental problem due to dental misalignment, tooth mobility or tooth loss, incongruous restorations or crowns but it can also be a bone problem due to genetics, pathologies, or bad habits. Independently on the cause of the malocclusion it can generate tmj disorders.
  • Neoplastic growth can also be a cause of tmj disorder. Disorders of the jaw joint vary widely but they are mostly classified in 3 categories. But one person might have one or more of these conditions in the same time.
  • Myofascial pain- involves discomfort or pain of the masticator muscles. It is the most common type of jaw joint disorder and is easier to treat.
  • Arthritis- includes all the degenerative/inflammatory joint disorders.
  • Internal disequilibrium of the jaw joint due to dislocated jaw, injury of the condyle or displaced disk.

Often the pain associated with tmj disorders is difficult to diagnose because the symptoms might be similar to other conditions like: toothache, headache, facial neuralgias, sinus or ear infection. So your health care provider should take a detailed dental and medical history, examine problematic areas and do several tests. There are a lot of tests that can determine if you have or not TMD. Some of them are:

  • X-rays like panoramic x-rays that allow your doctor to see the entire jaws and teeth and make sure what is causing TMD.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) makes visible the soft tissue, so your doctor can determine if the disk is in the correct position during rest or during movement of the jaws.
  • CT (computer tomography) gives detail about the bony component of TMJs. After diagnosing the temporomandibular joint disorder, depending on the type your doctor will decide what kind of treatment is suitable for you. The treatment may include Self-Care practices, pain medication, stress management, occlusal therapy, surgery etc.

Home Page: TMJ Symptoms

Temporomandibular Joint

Before we can talk about the Temporomandibular joint disorder, its symptoms and treatments we have to explain a few basic things about the temporomandibular joint or TMJ.

What is the temporomandibular joint?

The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects the lower jaw (mandibular jaw) with the skull and you can feel it in front of the ear during mouth movements. There are 2 TMJs on each side of the face that work in unison to permit movement for one bone (mandible).

 

TMJ Anatomy

On the contrary of what it seems the lower jaw is the jaw that moves during activity like chewing, talking, breathing . This movement can be done thanks to the Temporomandibular Joint.

TMJ is the most used joint in our body. It is composed by the round upper end of the lower jaw called condyle; the socket called articular fossa or glenoid fossa and the articular disk. The articular disc is found in between these articular surfaces, made of cartilage that absorbs the stress as a pillow and allows the function of the joint when the mouth opens and closes. The articular disc divides the TMJ in two compartments: the lower compartment composed by the condyle and the lower surface of the disc with rotation function and the upper compartment composed by the temporal bone and the upper surface of the disk with translation function.
Other important components of the temporomandibular joint are: the ligaments that reinforce the joint during the function and the capsule that is a membrane composed by fibrous tissue that surrounds the temporomandibular joint.

During the opening of the mouth the lower jaw (mandible) does two types of movement thanks to the particular structure of the TMJ. The first movement is a pure rotation. The jaw moves in a hinge axis and the mouth opens only for 4 mm. The second movement is a translation. The condyle slides forward until it has to pass the articular eminence and the mouth opens more than 4 mm.
There are four types of movement of the mandible: protrusion, or forward excursion; retrusion, the reversal of protrusion and the two lateral excursions (left and right).

The main causes of movement for the lower jaw are the muscles. They are also the main causes for TMJ pain but we are going to talk in another article about this. There are different types of muscles:

  • the muscles that lower the mandible: suprahyoid muscles
  • the muscles that pull up the mandible: temporalis, masseter and medial pterygoid
  • the muscles for protrusion: lateral pterygoid, masseter
  • the muscles for retrusion: temporalis, digastric and suprahyoid muscles.

As you can see a muscle might help in more than one kind of movement.

Since the temporomandibular joint is such a complex anatomical structure, if one of its components doesn’t work or is inflamed causes problems in the joint and these means problems in different functions like chewing, opening and closing the mouth, staying right etc. It could cause also pain that sometimes is difficult to diagnose. For more information follow us in the future articles.

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