Causes of TMD

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Cosmetic and General Dentistry

Cosmetic & General Dentistry

From a thorough professional cleaning to a full smile makeover, there is an amazing array of services that cosmetic and general dentists offer to make sure your teeth stay healthy, function well and look great. If your smile is not all you want it to be, this is the place to start. Read more about Cosmetic & General Dentistry.

Emergency Dental Care

Emergency Dental Care

When you have a dental emergency — whether it's caused by a sudden accident or chronic disease — your teeth and/or the tissues of the mouth that surround them need to receive proper care right away. It's also important to be aware, before you're actually in the situation, of what you can do to ensure the best outcome. Read more about Emergency Dental Care.

Endodontics

Endodontics

This is the branch of dentistry that focuses on the inside of the tooth — specifically the root canals and sensitive, inner pulp (nerve) tissue. When this tissue becomes inflamed or infected, a root canal procedure may become necessary. But contrary to the popular myth, a root canal doesn't cause pain, it relives it. Read more about Endodontics.

Implant Dentistry

Implant Dentistry

If you are missing one or more teeth, dental implants offer the comfort and security of a permanent replacement that looks and functions just like your natural teeth. Dental implants also help preserve the tooth-supporting bone in your jaw that naturally deteriorates when even one tooth is lost. Read more about Implant Dentistry.

Oral Health

Oral Health

Oral health is an essential component of general health and well-being. Good oral health means a mouth that's free of disease; a bite that functions well enough for you to eat without pain and get ample nutrition; and a smile that lets you express your happiest emotions with confidence. Read more about Oral Health.

Oral Hygiene

Oral Hygiene

A major goal of modern dentistry is to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime. By following a conscientious program of oral hygiene at home, and coming to the dental office for routine cleanings and exams, you have the best chance of making this goal a reality. Read more about Oral Hygiene.

Oral Surgery

Oral Surgery

The word “surgery” often brings to mind a stay in the hospital, general anesthesia, and perhaps a lengthy recovery period. However, the experience of having oral surgery is usually very different from that. Some common oral surgery procedures include: tooth extractions, dental implant placement, and biopsies of suspicious oral lesions. Read more about Oral Surgery.

Orthodontics

Orthodontics

Adults and kids alike can benefit from the boost in self-confidence that comes from having a great-looking smile with beautifully aligned teeth. Orthodontic treatment can even improve chewing, speaking and oral hygiene in certain cases. And with today's virtually invisible orthodontic appliances, it's possible to keep your treatment a private matter… until your new smile is unveiled, of course! Read more about Orthodontics.

Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric Dentistry

It's never too early to get your child started on the path toward a lifetime of good oral health, and there are many services to do exactly that. Monitoring your child's dental growth and development, and preventing and intercepting dental diseases along the way, is the primary focus of pediatric dentistry. Read more about Pediatric Dentistry.

Periodontal Therapy

Periodontal Therapy

If you want to keep your teeth for life — a completely reasonable goal in this day and age — you need to make sure the tissues that surround them are also healthy. Should gum problems arise, you may need periodontal therapy to restore diseased tissues to health. Read more about Periodontal Therapy.

Technology

Technology

In the field of dentistry, new technology is constantly changing the way diseases are diagnosed, routine procedures are performed, and illnesses are prevented. Although they may seem unfamiliar at first, new and improved dental technologies offer plenty of real benefits for patients. Read more about Technology.

The temporomandibular joints are among the most utilized joints in the body, due to their prolonged use during chewing, talking, singing, yawning, etc. Jaw dysfunction (TM dysfunction) means that the lower jaw is not in its proper relationship to the upper jaw. This frequently results in a dislocation of the protective disc anteriorly as the lower jaw assumes a position further back than normal.


SOME OF THE MOST COMMON CAUSES

  1. Lower Jaw Too Far Back
  • Deep dental overbite
  • Upper front teeth tipped backwards
  • Back teeth missing

    Result: causes dislocation of the protective disc anteriorly

  1. Unbalanced Muscles
  • Clenching or grinding habits
  • Bad posture
  1. Trauma
  • Automobile accidents
  • Whiplash injury
  • Intubation procedures in hospitals
  • Trauma to the head or jaw

Condyles Too Far Back: The Main Cause of TMD

Normal Joint
Dislocated Jaw Joint
Disc Displaced Anteriorly


The temporomandibular joint is affected like no other joint in the body. Behind the condyle (top of lower jaw), there are several structures that affect the health of the jaw joint itself. One is the posterior ligament which acts as a rubber band to pull the disc backward during closing of the jaw. Like all joints, the TM joints contain a large amount of nerves and blood vessels that on a subconscious level give the brain information about the position and condition of the joint. When the jaw is closed, the disc, which has no feeling, acts as a shock absorber to prevent the nerves and blood vessels from being compressed. When the mouth opens and the condyle and the disc move forward, the blood vessels expand to fill the vacated space. When the condyle is pushed too far backwards in the joint, it can slip off the cartilage disc and into these nerves and blood vessels. When nerves and blood vessels are compressed, the whole structure is unbalanced, affecting the nerves, the ligaments and the muscles of the head, neck and face. This dislocated jaw causes pain and other symptoms, which affect health and a person's quality of life.

DISLOCATED JAW JOINT, DISC DISPLACED ANTERIORLY

The treatment of choice for a patient with a dislocated jaw due to the lower jaw (condyle) being positioned too far back would be to use a lower splint, orthotic or functional jaw orthopedic appliance to reposition the lower jaw forward.

UNBALANCED MUSCLES

Unbalanced muscles can be a result of clenching or grinding of the teeth. If a muscle is overworked or becomes fatigued due to a structural imbalance, other muscles must compensate. This compensation causes the body to adjust to an abnormal postural state. Compensation means the body adapts to a state that is unhealthy. The body will start to experience symptoms on a mild level, such as occasional headaches. Slowly the symptoms start to occur on a more frequent level until eventually you are experiencing pain on a daily basis.

Whether you have a slightly displaced disc, a dislocated disc, unfavorable head posture or body posture, the abnormal forces and strain produced by tired, spastic muscles can refer pain into the neck, face or head. These muscle tension headaches can be so severe that they are confused with migraine headaches. Unfortunately, patients are often not examined for TMJ disorder and the "migraine" treatment works poorly.

The treatment for patients with migraine headaches is often the prescribing of pain medications such as Imitrex. This medication is ineffective in solving problems relating to dislocated jaw joints (TM dysfunction). Patients are advised to contact a dentist who utilizes appliances designed to reposition the lower jaw forward or to control parafunctional habits to try and solve the problem as early as it is diagnosed.

An overwhelming majority of patients who sustain whiplash injuries in motor vehicle accidents (MVA) also dislocated one or both temporomandibular joints at the same time without having impacted their face or head against the steering wheel, door column, windshield or other parts of the car.

Whiplash typically occurs if the head is thrown backward and forward while riding in a car that is hit from behind or the side. Extensive research has well documented the fact that most flexion-extension injuries occur following what is called "minor head injuries." This means that it is not necessary to suffer a fracture or even a direct head impact. In fact, most patients report that their head was simply snapped backward and forward or side to side. This motion causes damage to the muscles and ligaments which support the jaw joint. When these muscles and ligaments are injured, this can cause an anterior displacement of the protective disc and result in a dislocated jaw joint on one or both sides.


INTUBATION PROCEDURES

Patients that undergo surgical procedures with general anesthetic are usually intubated through the mouth. Intubation is the procedure by which a tube is placed down the throat to keep the airway open during surgical procedures. Occasionally, the jaw can be dislocated during this procedure due to the forced opening of the mouth and the hyperextension of the ligaments and tissues in order to insert the tube. Some patients may experience clicking in the jaw, limited opening of the mouth, facial pain, and headaches post surgically. Those patients who have already been diagnosed with a TM disorder should advise the anesthetist that they wish to be intubated through the nose during any surgical procedure to prevent further damage to the joint and its surrounding structures.


TRAUMA TO THE HEAD AND JAW

A severe blow the head or the jaw can cause the disc to be dislocated due to the force of the impact on the jaw. Patients may experience swelling, limited opening and clicking in the joint. Patients with this acute injury should seek emergency treatment immediately to avoid further damage to the joint.

FOODS AND DRINKS KNOWN TO AGGRAVATE HEADACHES FOR SOME PATIENTS

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Caffeine Coffee,tea, soft drinks, chocolate
  • M.S.G. Flavor enhancer user to preserve foods
  • Artificial Sweeteners Aspartame, Nutrasweet
  • Vegetable Oil Fried or greasy foods should be avoided
  • Milk and Cheese
  • Nuts
  • Raw Beans
  • Pork