The Temporomandibular Disorders department is dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of pathologies related to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the surrounding/ associated tissues and organs.
The Temporomandibular Joint is the one that connects our lower jaw to the temporal bone on the skull, located in front of our ears, being responsible in part for the functions of chewing, swallowing, speaking, smiling and yawning.
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, also known as TMD, represents the entire set of disorders and malfunctions of the muscles involved in the chewing process, the TMJ and of all associated structures.
These conditions are more prevalent in females, especially between 20 and 50 years of age. The most common and usually the first symptom to these type of conditions is an intense and severe pain in the spot where the jaw connects to the skull, and restrictions in the jaw’s movement.
In the case of TMD, it is very difficult to determine the exact cause for the condition, often having more than one.
Factors such as stress, anxiety, joint trauma, muscle tension in the maxillary area, other joint pathologies such as arthritis, occlusion problems and local or systemic infections can all be causes for the onset of temporomandibular disorders, when they cause an increase in pressure in the articulation and surrounding tissues.
This pressure over time, if not corrected, can bring pain, cause mouth opening blockages and temporomandibular joint clicks.
TMJ Dysfunction Symptoms
TMD symptoms are quite varied, depending on the causes and facial morphology of each patient.
Pain at the joint, and difficulty opening or moving the entire jaw are the most common symptoms. Additionally, patients may complain of clicking noises when moving the jaw, headaches and unreasonable fatigue in muscles related to chewing. If you experience the symptoms mentioned, do not hesitate to consult one of our Dentists.
As it is a delicate and complex area, it is often difficult to understand exactly what causes symptoms in the ligaments between the jaw and the skull. A Dentist specialized in Temporomandibular Disorders can make the correct diagnosis and prescribe the most appropriate treatment for the condition and characteristics of each patient.
In the first appointment at Prime Dental Clinic, the responsible Dentist will start by analyzing the patient’s condition.
Because the symptoms related to TMJ are common to so many conditions and pathologies, it is essential for the patient to resort to a medic or dentist specialized in the temporomandibular joint.
The patient will be asked to give his/ hers full medical history and there might be the need to carry out some medical exams to determine with precision the condition affecting the patient and determine the most efficient route of treatment.
TMJ Disorder Treatment Phase
If TMD is present, the dentist may recommend several treatments, depending on the characteristics, history and condition of each patient.
In some cases there is even the possibility of not needing treatment, and the condition will dissipate on its own. After careful analysis, the responsible dentist can suggest the following treatments:
- Treatment using medication;
- Treatment using occlusal gutters, which are acrylic plates, created with the assistance of digital planning technologies, in order to fit perfectly and meet the occlusal characteristics of each patient, which aim to avoid movements that could harm the oral health. Often the gutters will only be used at night;
- Treatment of occlusal balance through wear on teeth that will lead to better occlusion;
- Physiotherapy, exercise and massage treatment;
- Treatment using Botulinum toxin – Botox. The application of the toxin in the maxillary area produces a blockage in the nerve endings, which in turn will reduce the pressure that exists on the joint.
Is it possible for men to suffer from TMD?
Although the condition is much more prevalent in women (about 90% of cases), especially between 20 and 50 years of age, it is also possible that it appears in men.
What’s the best prevention for TMD?
The best prevention is to follow a healthier lifestyle.
Avoiding stressful situations, and stress in general, which is among the main causes of dysfunction, is the best medicine.
Your dentist may also recommend some practices that reduce the tension present in the joint.
Does TMD have a cure?
Temporomandibular Disorder is chronic and may be present throughout the life of our patients and requires continuous monitoring by dentists.
However, the treatments used today are already quite effective in reducing symptoms allowing patients to lead a normal and comfortable life.
Is surgery necessary to treat TMD?
There is surgery to relieve TMD symptoms but this is only used in extreme cases. In many patients, a minimally or minimally invasive treatment is sufficient to correct pain and movement difficulties.
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