Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD) is a group of conditions that cause pain and loss of normal function to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or jaw joint. The temporomandibular joint is located in front of the ear, on both sides of the head.
The joint is made up of the lower jawbone and the skull. A cartilage disk, which functions as a shock absorber and joint lubricant, separates these two bones. The TMJ and the muscles of chewing enable you to open your mouth, talk and chew.
TMJD can originate from the chewing muscles, cartilage disk or the joint bone.
Temporomandibular Joint Positions
Normal Closed Position
The lower jawbone is separated from the skull by a cartilage disk that acts as a cushion when the joint is in function i.e. chewing, speaking and yawning.
Normal Open Position
On the opening of the mouth, the disk will follow the lower jaw bone and they will move together when you move your jaw up and down or side to side.
In an abnormal joint, the disk can be displaced or torn. This displaced or torn disk can cause obstruction in joint movement. A torn disk can result in excessive wear of the bone of the joint, causing inflammation and pain.
Our Oral surgeons perform TMJ (temporomandibular joint) surgery of varying complexity. These include:
You may be a candidate for joint surgery if:
Signs and symptoms may include the following:
You may experience difficulty in eating and a sudden inability to close your mouth, which may or may not be spontaneously resolved.
Temporormandibular joint disorder can be caused by:
Seek consultation with your dentist. Most common issues are related to the masticatory muscles. Jaw disk displacements are also commonly encountered. Arthritis changes jaw joints which can also cause jaw discomfort.
A routine X-ray scan of the upper and lower jaw helps to rule out obvious bony lesions. Sometimes, more complicated imaging may be necessary.
Temporomandibular joint disorder may be treated surgically or non-surgically, depending on the diagnosis and the cause.
Medications - Some anti-inflammation drugs can be helpful in reducing the pain associated with TMJD
Therapies - Some TMJD symptoms can be relieved with the use of a bite guard. A bite guard is especially useful for patients who grind their teeth during sleep.
Surgery - Surgery may be the best option for patients who do not respond well to non-surgical treatment. Surgery may range from simple washing of the joint with fluids, (arthrocentesis) to inserting a small scope into the joint to examine and treat the joint (arthroscopy). Click here for more information on the various types of joint surgery.
4. Restoring natural teeth - Worn down teeth may need to be crowned.
5. Counselling and stress management
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