Treatment of temporo-mandibular joints

The temporo-mandibular joint connects the jaw bone with the temporal bone,andthe latter two align with each other thanks to the articular disk. The joint is linked with many facial and head muscles, and its proper functioning is of paramount importance as the joint is used for many different purposes. For instance, it is involved, among others, in the process of eating, speaking, and singing. Any disfunction of this joint exerts a negative impact on its functioning. When opening the mouth, yawning, or moving the jaw sideways, the person may experience sharp pain.A cracking sound of the temporo-mandibular joint is also a frequent occurrence, and, in extreme circumstances, the joint may end up blocked. All the situations described above substantiallyhamper the patient’s usual functioning.

It is worth knowing the symptoms which indicate a problem with the temporo-mandibular joint, and if these appear, it will be necessary to book an appointment with the specialist.Among the most common manifestations, the following can be found: pain and cracking of the joints, headache and aching neck, earache and rustling noise in the ears,teeth grinding and jaw clenching (bruxism), teeth aches, difficulty with wide mouth opening, muscle hypertrophy (masseter & temporalis muscles) and difficulties with chewing. If these symptoms are displayed, it is important to book an appointment with the specialist as soon as possible, because the joint will not heal on its own. The intensity of themanifestations, which have a negative impact on the patient’s well-being, will only increase with time, the problem will deepen which in turn is going to handicap and lengthen further treatment.

The causes of the temporo-mandibular joint pain

Unfortunately, there is a wide range of reasons which may result in soreness of the joint. The most frequently occurring pain is connected with malocclusion, dental gaps, gnashing and clenching of teeth, faulty posture, incorrectly treated injuries, and stress.

Treatment of the temporo-mandibular joint

The treatment of the joint begins with the visit at the dental surgery, where the specialist conducts a thorough interview and examines the patient. During the visit, a manual examination of the head and neck muscles, temporo-mandibular joints, and joint capsules is conducted. This, however, is not the end of the examination as the functioning of the tongue, general dental condition and malocclusion should be checked as well. Having completed the manual examination, usually atomography of the temporo-mandibular joints or head MRI are prescribed. Having gathered all the necessary information, the dentist is in a position to suggest the correct treatment. The patient can receive a special device, which is worn at night,thathelps to relax the head and neck muscles. This appliance, apart from relaxing the muscles, also prevents teeth gnashing and clenching. Physiotherapy is another form of treatment whose role is to loosen the joints and improve the elasticity of the muscles. The specialist can also show particular exercises, which the patient should do at home as a way of autotherapy. If the pain of the temporo-mandibular joint is caused by dental gaps or malocclusion,orthodontic or prosthetic treatment will be necessary.In order to treat the joints effectively, dental restoration using dentures or malocclusion correction with the help of mobile or fixed prosthetic appliances maybe required.


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