TMJ – Dysfunctions and treatments

Temporomandibular joint is a part or hinge that connects the jaw to the skull. This joint thus helps in the seamless movement of the jaw while talking, eating, chewing etc. Any defect occurring in this section would impair the proper movement of the jaw and sometimes obstructs contact between the upper parts of the teeth with its lower counterpart. Severe pain might be inflicted in the jaw due to injury or mispositioning of the TMJ connecting the skull to the jaw or the injury to the nerves running through this joint.

TMJ: Problems and Symptoms :

The problems causing pain in the jaw and facial muscles are generally termed as temporomandibular disorders. The problems leading to TMD could be a combination of factors rather than a single factor.

Grinding of the teeth, arthritis, stress which causes tightening of the facial muscles and jaws, malpositioning of the disc, disjoint of the disc or an injury to the nerves running through the TMJ, Decay in a tooth, sleeping on rough surfaces or wrong breathing while in deep sleep as in sleep apnoea and injuries the joint or the nerves presumably causing restrictions to the movement of the jaw and the mouth are issues that could be labelled as TMD.

TMD could inflict, severe pain in the jaw bones, cause tiredness, cause headache, and dizziness, probable swelling on both sides of the ear, an inability to open the mouth and chew etc.

Solution to TMD :

Once the problem is isolated it could be treated and rectified.TMD can be detected by means of X-ray, MRI scan or Ultrasound.

The person suffering from TMD could go for a series of treatment to ease out the pain.

Facial massage, applying pressure with cold pack, applying mild heat to the affected part, keeping the teeth little separated, routing jaw exercises, eating food that is tender or easy to chew and medication could give relief to the patient.

Injections to the affected part, laser therapy, radio wave therapy and in extreme conditions surgery is also required to cure from TMD.

The foremost and effective technique in the treatment of TMD is Splint therapy. In this form of treatment, a TENS device is used to relax facial muscles and a splint or guard is placed in the lower part of teeth to separate it from the upper part. This splint is removed after the therapy that could extend to a period of six months. Splints are also called as jaw repositioners. The splint acts as a perfect crutch and wades off any dissonance in the jaw-teeth relation.

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