WHAT IS TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint or structure is responsible for the mobility and function of the lower jaw; it is located in front of the ear, at the point where the lower jaw connects to the skull. Dysfunction of this joint, also known as Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome, can cause unpleasant and painful symptoms in the patient such as chronic pain in the masticatory muscles, jaw movements, pain and ringing in the ear, headache, neck pain, even back pain.
The syndrome begins with the patient tightening the masticatory muscles during their night sleep which causes gnashing of teeth, fractures of the enamel, pain in multiple teeth and tooth abscesses. The end result is a functional disorder of the entire oral system.
IS SURGERY NECESSARY?
In the majority of cases,TMJ is treated with conservative measures and medication but mainly with the construction of a special occlusal splint, aka a night mouth guard. Sometimes, the doctor may recommend physiotherapy as well.
In all cases, at Smile Ahead Clinic the type of treatment is determined after a detailed radiographic and clinical examination which includes the digital evaluation of the patient’s dental occlusion, using the Clinic’s specialized T-Scan Occlusal Analysis System.
I’M EXPERIENCING HEADACHE AND RINGING IN MY EARS. – COULD IT BE DUE TO TMJ?
The source of TMJ disorders is anatomically specific to the joint in front of the ear. The disorders mainly include headache from the constant tightening of the masticatory muscles (temporal lobe), ringing in the ears from the pressure of the condyle in the temporal lobe, and a clicking sound from the pressure of the peritoneal disc (meniscus) in the ear area due to its ectopic position. Additional symptoms include neck pain, pain when swallowing and sensitivity in one or more teeth especially when waking up in the morning.
P.S. The header image is from the book “Dental Occlusion and Oral Rehabilitation” by Ioannis Pel. Lomvardas.