The TMJ temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the jaw joint. The proper position of it is imperative for good oral health.
The movements of the TMJ are complex and allow for multiple functions:
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the mandible and the temporal bone of the head just above the neck. The joints of the jaw are found in front of the tragus of the ear, on the side of the head.
To stabilize the TMJ, there are three extrascapular ligaments that connect around it. These ligaments are responsible for maintaining the stability and proper alignment of the TMJ. The lateral ligament, stylomandibular ligament, and sphenomandibular ligament all play a significant role in the stability of the TMJ. The lateral ligament runs from the zygomatic arch to the condyle of the mandible, the stylomandibular ligament runs from the styloid process to the angle of the mandible, and the sphenomandibular ligament runs from the spine of the sphenoid bone to the lingula of the mandible. Together, these three extrascapular ligaments work in harmony to ensure that the TMJ remains stable and functional.
TMJ is correlated to different facial muscles that function to both protect and move it. The four that directly affect the TMJ are the masseter, temporal, and two pterygoids.
Masseter: Elevates the mandible, raising the lower jaw.
Temporal: This is the most powerful muscle of the TMJ. The temporal has two separate parts; anterior and posterior.
Lateral pterygoid: The only muscle of mastication that helps in opening the mandible.
Medial pterygoid: Originating from the medial side of the lateral pterygoid plate, the medial pterygoid’s functions include:
Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, can cause TMJ symptoms as well as pain. The painful symptoms from TMJ dysfunction may appear in varying degrees in different patients.
Some common symptoms and signs that you have a TMJ disorder or TMJ dysfunction may include:
Jaw pain and dysfunction could be caused by a combination of: injury, genetics or arthritis. Common causes that may increase the risk of developing painful TMJ disorders in patients are:
If you have persistent pain or tenderness, or if you can’t open or close your jaw completely. Your dentist, dr, or a specialist of temporomandibular disorders may suggest TMJ therapy or TMD treatments to examine possible causes and treatments for your problem.
The first step is to schedule a consultation to discuss your TMJ disorder symptoms with your Ottawa dr or dentist for neuromuscular dentistry or other dental care to discuss neuromuscular treatment options. Many factors will need to be considered in your consulation, including the symptoms and exact cause such as the orientation of your skull, your bite, whether you have optimal occlusion or not and your lower teeth fit.
Your therapist will be asking questions to determine the possible causes of your pain and to gauge the severity. Be ready to answer the following questions:
Your doctor or treatment specialist will ask further questions based on your symptoms. Being prepared for these questions will help your therapist diagnose the dysfunction and determine a treatment plan.
After reviewing a new patients history, the TMJ specialist will examine the face, skull and neck , looking at bite position of upper and lower teeth, alignment and movements to see what treatments may be effective for reducing your pain.
Your specialist for TMJ Disorders will:
Imaging may be ordered to find the exact cause of your discomfort:
Luckily, people suffering with TMJ symptoms will typically find relief quickly with the right TMD treatments. However, severe cases of TMJ dysfunction, especially those caused by arthritis or bruxism, can last months to years, depending on how severe the underlying condition is.
Becoming more aware of oral health and habits, clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth will help you reduce frequency. The following TMJ treatment suggestions may help you relieve symptoms of TMJ disorders:
Your Ottawa doctor or dentist in neuromuscular dentistry may suggest the following:
As a last resort, your Ottawa dr or dentist in neuromuscular dentistry might suggest:
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