Table of contents
What is temporomandibular joint disorder?
The temporomandibular joint disorder is a disorder involving the masticatory muscles, the temporomandibular joint, or both. But the manifestation of this disease is often not obvious, transient, even spontaneously cured, so most people do not care much. Although the disease is not fatal, it will be very difficult to treat and cause discomfort and fatigue to the body if detected slowly.
Temporomandibular joint disorder causes periodic pain, muscle spasms, and imbalance in the joint between the mandible and skull. It is the only movable joint in the craniofacial system, which plays an important role in the functional activities of the masticatory system. When there is a temporomandibular joint disorder, pain in the temporomandibular joint – the joint on either side of the head in front of the ears, where the jawbone meets the skull. Therefore, when sick, it will affect communication, eating, affecting daily activities.
Causes of temporomandibular joint disorder
There are many causes of temporomandibular joint disorder, including:
- Genetic factors, causing the temporomandibular joint to congenitally deviate.
- Teeth grinding or the habit of clenching teeth (consciously or unconsciously), increases pressure on the jaw muscles and damages the temporomandibular joint.
- Being impacted from outside causes trauma to the temporomandibular joint, possibly due to unsafe sports or labor activities.
- Misaligned, sparse, or missing teeth lead to misalignment.
- Unscientific eating habits, chewing on one side or using many hard, difficult foods every day.
- Pressure and psychological stress lead to involuntary contraction of jaw muscles, forming teeth grinding when sleeping.
Teeth grinding increases pressure on the jaw muscles and damages the temporomandibular joint
Symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder
Symptoms that can be recognized when having a temporomandibular joint disorder:
- There is a feeling of pain or fatigue in the jaw muscles when talking, eating, chewing, opening the mouth, clenching the jaws, chewing hard food ...
- Pain in the chewing muscles: jaw angle, submandibular area.
- Pain in the front of the ear, pain in the ear.
- Pain in the temples, neck-shoulder-neck muscles.
- Crackling sound when opening or closing the jaw.
- Headache, migraine headache.
- Jaw stiffness: difficult to open the mouth large, when opening large can deviate the jaw.
- The disease can also cause a crackling sound when opening the mouth or chewing.
- Pain is the most prominent symptom of temporomandibular joint disorders and often prompts people with joint dysfunction to seek medical attention, which can range from mild, dull pain to intense pain.
Can temporomandibular joint disorder be cured?
The answer is yes. Depending on the condition of the temporomandibular joint disorder of each patient, the treatment method will be different. Usually, patients will be treated with medical therapy combined with exercises to treat TMJ disorders. Advice on nutrition - rest, sharpening and orthodontics, orthodontics, splints, mouth guards, or other traditional forms of TMD therapy.
Give drug treatment. The doctor may prescribe pain relievers, muscle relaxants, ...
If a patient is ill due to stress or poor anxiety, a doctor or dentist may refer a psychologist with experience in cognitive behavioral therapy. This approach includes interventions to help with awareness and behavior change, learning relaxation techniques, and managing stress.
There are also cases where the disease can improve on its own without treatment. If symptoms persist, your doctor may advise you to take medication or protect your bite to help keep your teeth from grinding at night. In very rare cases, surgical repair or replacement of parts of the joint may be required.
In addition to medical treatment, patients are also active in the treatment process such as:
- Being more aware of stress-related habits – clenching the jawbone, grinding teeth, or chewing – will help reduce the frequency of pain.
- Avoid overuse of jaw muscles.
- Eat soft foods.
- Food is cut into small pieces.
- Avoid sticky or chewy foods like chewing gum because it will require long chewing activities leading to jaw fatigue.
- Do not open your mouth too wide while yawning.
- Your doctor or dentist can show you how to do jaw stretching and massage exercises. There are also exercises to raise the head, neck, and shoulder posture.
- Applying warm, moist, or ice packs to the sides of the face can help relax muscles or relieve pain
Patients should be careful not to open too loud when yawning