Jaw Joint Problems

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD)

This is a very common problem in young adults, especially in women between 20-40 years of age and is one of the cause of facial pain.
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (Jaw joint problem) is due to alterations in the structure of the joint and therefore affecting the function of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms
Pain – in the TMJ, ear, facial pain or headache
Clicking– every time you open the mouth or can be intermittent. It can be associated with pain
limitation of mouth opening.
Jaw dislocation
Stiffness of muscle around jaw joint
Noises in the ear
Can be associated with neck ache and back ache 
Signs
Limitation of opening
Clicking
Deviation of mouth during opening
Tenderness in the muscles.

Causes of TMJD

Usually due to several factors. These include:
Habits – clenching or grinding teeth, excess use of muscle (Nail biting, chewig gum etc)
Trauma to the jaw
Anxiety, stress, depression
Arthritis of TMJ
Whiplash injury
Thumb sucking
Jaw abnormalities/missing teeth
Birth/Congenital trauma
Psychological factors
Genetic

Investigations

Xrays: Orthopantomogram
Scans: MRI scan of the joint
CT scan
Diagnostic Arthroscopy: examining the joint with a telescope

Treatment

Depending on the diagnosis one of the below would be advised

Non medical

Rest by avoiding excessive chewing. Avoiding habits. Massaging the muscles.  Thermal treatment (alternating cold and warmth), freezing sprays.

Occlussal Splint

In cases where Bruxism is a possible cause, mouth moulds are taken and an intraoral appliance, called as occlussal splint is built with acrylic resin.

Drug Treatment

Common drugs prescribed for this condition include:

  • Painkillers
  • Anti-inflammatories: local application or tablets
  • Muscle Relaxants
  • Anxiolytics
  • Antidepressants

Counselling

When stress and depression is a contributory factor, then this would be beneficial

 

Surgery

Arthroscopy
Open joint procedure

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