What is TMD?
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder TMD is a musculoskeletal disorder which, in addition to functional causes, can be associated with anxiety and stress and may coexist with cervical syndrome.
Many people suffer from chronic headaches, or noises in the ears, which persist despite medical treatment by specialists. Others often visit the dentist because of unexplained toothache or limitation in jaw mobility and mouth opening. As incredible as it sounds, all of these are typical symptoms of temporomandibular syndrome.
It is important to understand TemporoMandibular Syndrome in order to cope with the symptoms and correct the causes.
Πώς είναι η κροταφογναθική άρθρωση;
The temporomandibular joint is the most complex joint in the human body and connects the lower jaw with the skull in the temporal area.
It is formed by the temporal bone of the skull (1)(Temporo) with the lower jaw or mandible(2) (hence, mandibular). Placed between these two bones is a disc(3), just like the one between your back bones. This disc is primarily made of cartilage and being attached to a muscle, actually moves with certain movements of the jaw.
In fact, we have two joints, one in front of each ear. The muscles of the jaw joint ( the temporalis, the masseter etc.) play a key role, since they are not only responsible for chewing, but also for the harmonic function of the joint.
What is TMD?
The jaw joint is a very complex structure and its harmonic function can be influenced by damage of any of its anatomical components. When any of the muscles develops a spasm, besides being painful,it cannot function harmonically with the rest of the anatomical components and can cause Dysfunction of the Temporo-Mandibular Joint. Since the muscles stabilize the disc, any dysfunction of the system can cause a dislocation of the disc. Dislocation of the disc is a very critical condition that can affect directly the mobility of the lower jaw and the general function of the joint.
There is an interaction with the rest of the neck and back muscles and this is why TMD can coexist with cervical syndrome.
What causes TMD?
There are many factors that are responsible for the occurrence of TemporoMandibular Dysfunction. Sometimes a single incident is enough for the onset of TMD. Most of the time, however, a combination of various factors and circumstances will lead to this painful condition.
TMD, Bruxing and Stress
Bruxism is the abnormal grinding of the teeth and usually occurs during sleep. That is why so many people do not realize that they are bruxers. One indication that a person is a bruxer is sore jaw muscles when waking in the morning. The constant grinding of the teeth causing pressure on the joint may injure the ligaments, thus allowing for the disc to dislocate.
Ιt appears that stress acts in conjunction with jaw joint problems. Observations have shown that there are periods of acute symptoms followed by periods of remission. Also here abnormal pressure is exerted against the joint, as a result of excessive muscle forces, causing ligament and disc injury ( and possible dislocation ) accompanied by muscle spasm and pain
TMD & Excessive Opening
Αll joints have limitations to movement and the jaw joint is nο exception. If you open wide for a long time, or if your mouth is forced wide open, ligaments again may be tom. Swelling and bruising develop and disc dislocation may occur. Excessive opening can occur while eating (biting an apple or a sandwich) or while being put to sleep for surgery, or even on the dental chair, if your mouth is open for a long time during the treatment of a tooth in the back area of the mouth.
Many people suffer from Temporo-Mandibular-Dysfunction Syndrome, while even more people suffer without knowing the cause. If you have the symptoms, do not wait. Treat craniofacial TMD for a better quality of life!
Is it maybe more than just daily stress?