What is the TMJ and how can it cause dental problems?
TMJ, or the Temporo-mandibular joint is the joint that connects two bones, the Mandibular bone (lower jaw) and the Temporal bone, enabling us to move the jaw in up and down, and side to side motions. Problems associated with the TMJ muscles or jaw motions are referred to as TMJ disorders/dysfunctions and can cause difficulty in mouth opening, chewing and general movements of the mandible. There are various types of TMJ disorders based on the degree and nature of pain, motion impairment, and involvement of the joint.
What are the factors responsible for causing TMJ dysfunction?
The most prominent causative factors behind the development of various Temporo-mandibular joint disorders include stress, para-TMJ discomfortfunctional habits such as night time teeth grinding, trauma or direct injury to the joint as medical conditions related to the bone and joints such as arthritis.
What are the different symptoms associated with TMJ disorders?
Prominent symptoms of Temporo-Mandibular Joint dysfunction include pain on chewing, palpation, yawning and clenching teeth. This pain can either be present on one side or both, and is usually dull/aching in nature. Other symptoms include restrictive movement of the lower jaw, and clicking or grating noises from the joint upon opening or closing of the mouth. Some associated symptoms of the condition are headache and facial pain, neck pain, shoulder pain and at times, tinnitus.
Why does TMJ dysfunction occur?
There are a number of theories on the basis of which TMJ pain can be explained. TMJ disorders can be associated with degenerative joint diseases, muscular pain, bruxism (teeth grinding), stress, disc displacement, psychological factors such as depression and anxiety, direct trauma, abnormal or uneven distribution of the intraoral forces of mastication, family history of chronic pain and hormonal changes.
How can TMJ dysfunction be diagnosed and treated?
Diagnosis is made based on the nature of pain as described by the patient, presence of abnormal sounds such as clicking or grating which can either be heard using a stethoscope, or felt from the external auditory meatus (Outer Ear), and mouth opening can be checking by measuring against normal values. Family and medical history play an important role in the diagnosis of TMJ disorders.
The treatment of TMJ dysfunction is a multi-disciplinary approach that aims to address and resolve any/all factors responsible. Psychological intervention is necessary for the management of stress, anxiety or depression, special dental appliances can be fabricated to prevent patients from grinding or clenching teeth habitually, orthodontic/surgical intervention can ensure even dental distribution of masticatory forces, analgesic medication (painkillers) can be prescribed for the management of pain and swelling, and exercises/physiotherapy can be performed for normal movements of the jaw.
The team of experts at Anantuni Family Dental offer outstanding multi-disciplinary management and treatment of Temporo-Mandibular Joint Disorders that ensures complete resolution, normal jaw movements and elimination of pain.
For professional consultation and treatment by the leading dental professionals in Chandler, AZ, call now on 480-821-4000 and allow us to exceed your expectations with ultra-effective services.