Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome- Causes, Diagnosis And Treatment
Temporomandibular joint joins the jaw structure to the skull of the human body. This crucial component of facial structure plays a major role in the movement of muscles required for chewing, speaking and creation of various expressions. The malfunctioning of the joint due to varied reasons causing pain and discomfort in other actions like chewing and speech troubles is called Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome. You need to consult a specialized dental professional known as TMJ dentist. To know about the best treatment available for this severe dental ailment, you can review various studies; medical papers shared on www.mayoclinic.org.
Although the exact cause of this syndrome has not been identified as yet, some probable medical conditions which may lead to the development of Temporomandibular joint syndrome include:
• Injury caused due to accident to the skull, neck, jaw or connecting muscles and bones
• The habit of clenching of teeth, which creates pressure on your joint can also lead to such problem.
• Stress and mental ailments leading to a person making weird expressions and stretching of facial bones and muscles.
• Joint Arthritis
• The disc between the joint and its socket slips, causing strain.
• Orthodontics diseases and positioning of teeth, or with time teeth growing into sub-optimal position causing biting and chewing difficulties.
The major symptoms of TMJ syndrome include:
1. Muscular pain: there are various dental pains which we experience which can collectively fall under the category of TMJ syndrome. Myofascial pain dysfunction syndrome which is basically caused by mental distress can cause strain in facial joints causing pain. Internal derangement relates to the wrong positioning of articulating disc of the joint causing pain. Degenerative joint disease, where due to arthritis degeneration is caused in articulating surface.
4. Stress in neck, back, and shoulders
6. Constant uncomfortable buzzing, hissing sound in ear
7. Locking of jaw or clicking sound causing tremendous pain
8. A toothache and sensitivity
9. Restricted movement of muscles in the mouth causing chewing and speaking difficulties.
The specialist makes the diagnosis of TMJ syndrome through doing dental examination involving checking for any tenderness and pain in joint, clicking or grating sound when you move the joint up down or sideways. Testing for biting process as well as check if there is any locking of joint taking place suddenly. An X-ray would be done to check the overall positioning and working of joint. MRI could be conducted to check the positioning of articulating disc, and CT scan confirms the bone details in the facial structure.
The course of treatment for this syndrome depends on the intensity of the discomfort and pain caused due to this medical situation. Initially, the dentist can suggest you make changes in lifestyle and teach self-care techniques. This process may include avoid eating chewing gum, intake of only soft foods and try to get rid of the habit of clenching. They may also suggest some exercises which can reduce the symptoms drastically if followed religiously.
If the self-treatment does not help much, then the dentist can move to the next level of appliance therapy. Where in they would ask you to use splints which function to adjust the way lower jaw meets the upper jaw gently. These splints need to be worn by the patient for some time. As a result, the stress on joints caused due to overbite for clenching reduces, and the joint relaxes. Other orthodontic works which can be used are fitting bridge, reshaping and grinding of enamel or getting realignment of the teeth done.
In case this option also does not work well then, the last option involves dental surgery. In the extreme cases where the joint movement is completely restricted, the symptom is long-standing, and the pain is increasing, then the joint needs to be replaced. Although opted in sporadic cases, joint replacement gives the permanent solution to the problem, and the chances of re-occurrence are minimal.