Teeth grinding is a habit that can turn into a disorder when not taken care of properly. One of these complications is the temporomandibular joint or TMJ problems. It is a disorder that is involved with the inflammation of the temporomandibular joint. This joint is responsible for connecting the mandible to the skull, and is jointly responsible for the opening and closing of the jaw. Without it, speaking, eating and other activities associated with mouth movement are not possible. That is why problems with this joint can cause serious disabilities to an individual.
TMJ problems can be caused by a number of reasons. As stated above, teeth grinding can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD. In fact, TMD is one of the most serious consequences of teeth grinding. This is because teeth grinding can damage the muscles and joints surrounding the teeth and the jaw. An individual is said to be developing TMD from teeth grinding if he wakes up in the morning with an aching ear or jaw. Any damage or trauma to the jaw can also lead to the disorder. Like other bones in the body, when this joint gets damaged, it will be nflamed.Damaged bones take at least 2-4 months to heal. When the joint does not heal correctly, it can deform the temporomandibular joint, causing TMD. Activities that distort the jaw and the upper body can also lead to the condition.
Damaged bones take at least 2-4 months to heal. When the joint does not heal correctly, it can deform the temporomandibular joint, causing TMD. Activities that distort the jaw and the upper body can also lead to the condition. An example of this is frequent usage of telephones and awkward sleeping positions.
When TMD is suspected, the individual can exhibit a number of symptoms. The most common symptom of TMD is headache, accounting to 80% of the patients. This headache is accompanied by facial pain, aggravated by movement of the jaw. This can be explained by the damage sustained by the joint. When the joint is damaged, the trigeminal nerve can be compromised as well. This nerve is responsible for the movement of the jaws and the ability of the face to feel touch. Ear pain is also common to affected individuals.
The temporomandibular joint is located right in front of the ear, so pain in this area is very likely. Clicking sounds can also be heard when the mouth is being opened and closed, indicating misalignment of the joint. A grating sensation can also be felt if the temporomandibular joint is felt while moving the mouth. To confirm the diagnosis, the individual will undergo an X-ray to identify any abnormalities in the joint. The physician will also conduct a physical assessment of the teeth and jaws to gauge the extent of the disorder.
When a diagnosis has been made, the individual with a TMJ disorder will undergo treatment. Treatment modalities include physical therapy, medications to relieve pain, correction of the alignment of the joint and stress management. All of these interventions are geared toward the relief of the symptoms of TMD, correction of the factors that caused the disease and treatment of other factors that aggravate the disorder. Treatment can be long and difficult, so a lot of patience is needed from the individual.