WHAT IS THE TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT (TMJ)?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts as a hinge connecting the lower jaw to the skull bone. This articulation is located on each side of the face, just in front of the ears. It allows to chew and to speak properly.
WHAT ARE ATM DISORDERS?
When the temporomandibular joint is not functioning properly, symptoms such as pain, crunches, and movement limitation may occur in the joint and associated muscles. A dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint is a set of symptoms that can manifest itself in a very variable way, associating one or more of the following manifestations:
- Painful manifestations (ear pain, headaches located in the temples, jaw pain)
- Joint manifestations: joint sounds (clicking at the opening of the mouth, screeching), pain limitation or not mouth opening, discomfort with chewing and feeding, sensation of joint instability, and closed mouth blockage or open mouth blockage
- Other manifestations such as tinnitus or tinnitus
WHEN TO CONSULT?
Consult a dental professional if you experience the following signs and symptoms:
- Throbbing pain in the front of the ear
- Difficulty chewing or discomfort during chewing
- Facial pain
- Difficulty opening and closing the jaw
- Click or crunch sensation when you open your mouth or chewing
- Change in occlusion (the relationship between upper and lower teeth)
In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders can be relieved by non-surgical care and treatment. Your dentist will advise you in the choice of treatment and refer you to the appropriate professional. As with most joints, the goal is the most conservative treatment possible to correct the reported symptoms.
Tips that can help you understand what is causing your TMJ disorders and behaviors that can make your pain worse, so that you can avoid them. For example, clenching or grinding your teeth, leaning against your chin, or biting your nails. Occlusal Plates: In many cases, people with jaw pain will benefit from a molded plastic denture inserted into the teeth (helps balance the pressure on the teeth and relieve tension in the TMJs). Exercises or physiotherapy sessions are often beneficial to regain proper mobility of the jaw.
In conjunction with other non-surgical treatments, medications that may help relieve the pain associated with TMJ disorders may include anti-inflammatories, painkillers, muscle relaxants, to name a few.
When conservative methods cannot solve TMJ problems, your maxillofacial surgeon may suggest surgical procedures ranging from simple infiltration to more complex surgeries. For cases of arthritis or severe arthro-degenerative disease your maxillofacial surgeon may even propose to replace the joint in question with a metal joint prosthesis.