Temporomandibular joint dysfunction(TMJ) is a collective term for disorders of the musculoskeletal system of the chewing organ. Here you can read about the most common complaints with TMJ and the treatment options.
Complaints at TMJ
- The most common complaints with TMJ are:
- pain or fatigue of the masticatory muscles
- not being able to open the mouth properly
- pain of the temporomandibular joint
- cracking or creaking jaw joints
- hypersensitive or painful teeth and choose
- abnormal wear of the teeth
- Ear, head and neck pain can also be related to disorders in the chewing organ.
The chewing device consists of the masticatory muscles, the jaw joint, the teeth and the accompanying vascular and nerve provision.
- Jackdaw muscles
- Jaw joint
- Jaw joint with a closed mouth
- Jaw joint with an opened mouth
The chewing muscles take care of the daily movements of the jaw during vital functions such as chewing, swallowing or talking. But also with social functions such as kissing and whistling. The masticatory muscles are widely used. As with all muscles, it is important that the masticatory muscles receive sufficient rest. For the tmj treatment this is a very important matter now.
When chewing muscles do more than normal daily activities, we speak of abnormal mouth behavior or para function.
Stress is an important factor that plays a role in worsening para functions. Just think of ‘biting through’ when it becomes difficult, ‘getting a choice’ or ‘walking on the gums’. Because of these mouth habits or para functions, the chewing muscles become overloaded. Chewing muscles can become painful, tired or give a radiant head, ear or toothache.
Before treatment is started, it is important to clearly determine what is the cause of TMJ. If necessary, a treatment plan will be drawn up. The practitioner can be the dentist, physiotherapist, dental surgeon or psychologist or a combination of them. The speech therapist is also involved in speech-related problems.
If the teeth do not fit well, the dentist can grind it or try to fit it with a plastic plate (splint), so that the jaw is properly loaded. The splint is also often used for movement limitations. In case of abnormal tooth wear, a splint is worn to protect the teeth.
The physiotherapist will give you instructions on how to use the mouth well and relax. You often get exercises to loosen painful chewing muscles at home yourself. Furthermore, the physical therapist looks at whether there is a connection between for example neck complaints and TMJ.
Para functions are usually exacerbated by stress. Sometimes it may be necessary for the psychologist to teach you how to deal with your stress so that the negative consequences are prevented or limited. The psychologist can also provide methods for learning to relax in case of excessive clamping or grinding.
An operation of the jaw joints at TMJ is only rarely performed because of the poor predictability of this treatment. Sometimes it is possible for the dental surgeon to closely examine and / or clean the joint through a viewing operation.