What are temporomandibular
joint disorders?

Temporomandibular disorders are functional alterations that affect the temporomandibular joints and the chewing muscles that connect the mandible to the skull.

Many people experience pain at some point in their life by chewing and yawning. These joint and muscle problems are complex and require expert attention.

Jaw pain clicking and discomfort
Jaw pain and discomfort

What are the symptoms?

Temporomandibular joint disorders can affect the jaw and jaw joint as well as muscles in the face, shoulder, head, and neck.

Common symptoms include joint pain, muscle pain, headache, joint noises (cracking), problems when opening the mouth completely and blocking the jaw.

"In most cases, the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders are mild. These tend to come and go without worsening and usually disappear. However, some people who suffer from these disorders develop long-lasting (chronic) symptoms."

Chronic pain or difficulty moving the jaw can affect speech, eating, sleeping and swallowing affecting the quality of life and well-being of people who have it.

What Causes Temporomandibular joint disorders?

The cause of these disorders is often complex and multifactorial (stress, emotional tension, anxiety, arthritis, bruxism, systemic factors, trauma, poorly adjusted dental treatments, functional overload, joint laxity, osteoarthrosis, muscle spasms, ...).

"The most common cause of temporomandibular disorder symptoms is muscle tension or spasm, often triggered by stress and / or gnashing of teeth while sleeping (bruxism)".

Also this disorder can cause an injury to the mandible, temporomandibular joint or muscles of the head and neck - caused for example by a strong blow or cervical trauma.

Other possible causes include: an injury to the joint or tissues around it, problems related to the shape of the jaw itself and joint diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis.

How is a temporomandibular disorder diagnosed and treated?

There is no single treatment to relieve symptoms. Ideally, a multidisciplinary team should direct the treatment for these patients. It is essential the collaboration of doctors, dentists, physiotherapists and sometimes psychologists.

In Dental Cisne we carry out an exhaustive examination and anamnesis to evaluate the type of treatment most suitable for each case.

"The information that the patient receives about his disorder and internalize some tips and recommendations to apply in his daily routine is the first phase of treatment. From here, depending on the case, splints (there are different designs depending on the pathology to be treated), physiotherapy, pharmacotherapy ..."

Sometimes the way the tooth "fits" is responsible for the dysfunction, in these cases an occlusal rehabilitation will be proposed by means of orthodontics, prosthesis or selective carving.

We help with occlusal analysis with Tekscan to see if there are excessive loads on the teeth or implants after the rehabilitations. When rehabilitation is performed at this level, it is important to give each tooth its role in the masticatory function and free it from excessive loads, prematurity or interference during mandibular movements.

It is highly recommended to learn techniques of self-care and relaxation to reduce the general stress and tension of the masticatory and cervical musculature. It is important to detect the factors that aggravate the picture, to identify and control them.

Stress is shown to increase muscle tension which in the long run can damage both muscles and joints, predisposes to unconscious nighttime tightening (bruxism) and makes any pain less tolerable.

When conservative treatment fails to resolve the symptoms, infiltrations of the joints may be indicated or in severe cases of TMJ (temporomandibular joint) surgeries.