Temporal Mandibular Joint (TMJ) Treatment

The purpose of TMJ

Our masticatory system consists of many components. There are not only the teeth, jaw joints and chewing muscles what plays an important role in our masticatory system, but the bones of the skull and spine overall statics also. Temporomandibular joint (anatomically – joints) and chewing muscles support the lower jaw position and movements: mouth opening, gag, biting, chewing. If there are a correct interaction between the articular head and the articular disc, ligaments machine, chewing muscles and teeth – all these movements are carried out smoothly. But problems could be caused if the system is poorly functioning. Headache and facial pain are the most common symptoms. This pain is usually caused by excessive masticatory muscle tension.

These symptoms are the signal of Temporal Mandibular Joint disorders:

  • Temporomandibular joint crackle while chewing, opening or closing mouth;
  • Limited mouth opening (most visible when it comes to bite off an apple or a cake and you can’t open your mouth wide enough);
  • Mandibular dislocation after wide opening of your mouth;
  • Pain in the face area, temples, back of the neck, unexplained headache;
  • Grinding of teeth or a strong pressure on the teeth at night.

Temporal Mandibular Joint disorders are shortly called as CMD (craniomandibular dysfunction). Term CMD was made from three words:

  • Cranium = skull;
  • Mandibula = mandible;
  • Dysfunktion = malfunction.

This term defines the function of the teeth, jaw joints and chewing muscles and the cervical spine and the skull bone disorders.

Why do TMJ disorders appear?

Our teeth should be coincided the same as the gears with each other. Masseter muscles, joints and teeth should function harmoniously in the optimal case. The upper and the lower rows of teeth do not match if there are any disorders or natural disturbances (over-filling, crown, slanting teeth).

So when there is the mismatch of the rows of teeth, the lower jaw automatically moves to a new position in which the teeth mainly produces contact between the upper and lower jaws. Body tries to compensate for the failure by this new situation.
However, our muscles are not used to release the handle in this new position. The chewing muscles are experiencing abnormal loads and overloading their power.

Since the chewing muscles are directly tied up with the other parts of supporting-movement machine via nerves, functional disorders of chewing system could cause additional ailments and other diseases in the other parts of supporting-movement machine.

Inverse influence is also possible, because all the parts of supporting-movement machine are interrelated. This means that TMJ disorders may occur due to the curved hips, knees, feet or crooked spine.
Psychological factors could also be the reason of disorders, because chronic psychological stress activates chewing and head muscles. Consciousness disconnects at night while sleeping and all the daily stress are quelled by constantly actively working masticatory muscles. Bruxism and similar problems occur later.

It is advised to immediately see a TMJ specialist if you experience any symptoms of the TMJ disorders. It very rare to TMJ disorders to disappear by itself. Only the doctor, who performed a manual function and structure analysis, can determine the cause of the problem and to choose the treatment. Special bruxism kappa is the most common way of treatment. Orthodontic treatment is performed when the reason of disorders lies in the irregular occlusion. It is also good to carry out joint gymnastics at home. Sometimes cooperation with specialist from other fields is needed, so physical therapist, neurologist, ear, nose or throat doctors could also be involved. For the rare cases surgery is required.