Temporomandibular joint disorder is an issue with the joint that links the lower jaw with the skull. Often, the problems in the joint results from abnormal stresses and pressure on the joint.
The temporomandibular joint soaks up the stress from chewing, so if your teeth are not correctly aligned, when you bite, it may cause the jaw to shift out of correct alignment. This stresses the joint and can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder.
Symptoms typically include : clicking or popping of the joint, discomfort and difficulty moving the jaw, and an occasional locking or limited range of motion. Secondary symptoms may often include ear aches, head aches, shoulder and neck pain, and a ringing in the ear.
Treatment can be either surgical, or non surgical. In some cases when the joint is damaged, surgery may be required. Typically, however, the non surgical options will be used before the surgical alternative is considered. Depending on the problems involved, orthodontics might be an effective method of eliminating the disorder; an orthodontist can realign the teeth, and reduce the stress on the joint. Sometimes, reshaping a single tooth may serve to relieve the strain.
Physical treatment, anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, and stress control are all treatment possibilities. Most generally, a comfortable customized guard called a bite-plate or night -guard, which is to be worn throughout the day or at nights, provides great relief from symptoms. The primary objective of these treatments is to reduced the tension in the jaw muscles, and thus reduce stress on the joint.