TMJ Problems

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is the hinge which connects the lower jaw i.e. mandible with the temporal bones of the skull. The function of TMJ is very essential in day to day life like chewing, talking as well other mouth activities. TMJ problems can be said to occur when these functions cannot be carried out properly by the patient.For more details,please login to

The causes of TMJ problems or temporomandibular joint disorders are not very prominent or proved but dentists find the following mentioned factors to be the causes for the same. Some of them are blowing air with mouth heavily, clenching, grinding of teeth, rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis in the TMJ, movement of disc, tightening of the facial muscles due to stress.

TMJ problems usually tend to cause discomfort and severe pain. Tenderness on opening of mouth, trying to speak, chewing and other oral activities which involve the temporomandibular joint usually occur in the TMJ problems. The clicking sound of TMJ while opening the mouth is one of the characteristic signs of TMJ problems. Therefore, clicking sound is given much importance while taking case history in a dental patient. Patient has difficulty in chewing of the foodstuffs due to lack of proper masticatory movements of upper and lower teeth. There is swelling on the affected side of the face and also the patient has a tiring look. Some other secondary problems which can also occur include hearing difficulty, headaches and upper shoulder pain.

Diagnosis of TMJ problems is done by the dentist once the patient complains of some difficulty in the TMJ region. Many a times, the dentist diagnoses such problems even during the normal case history. Presence of pain or tenderness is first checked by the dentist. Then the dentist checks for the clicking sound. Functioning of the jaw i.e. by opening and closing is then checked in order to detect the presence of lock of the joint before the activity is completed. The dentist asks the patient to bite so that he can detect any abnormality in the facial muscles or structures associated with it.  Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and CT scan are the recommended diagnostic techniques for the TMJ problems. These diagnostic procedures actually are helpful in knowing the condition of the TMJ and its surrounding structures.

The treatment of TMJ problems is done according to the condition of the patient and experience of the dentist. Analgesics are the primary ones. Ultrasound, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), anesthesia or pain killers are injected in the areas which actually trigger pain, laser therapy of low levels and radio wave therapy. If the patient is not cured with these techniques then the dentist recommends surgery. Arthrocentesis, Arthroscopy and Open-joint surgery are the procedures which are used in order to treat the patient with TMJ problems. Arthrocentesis is the simplest of the above procedures and it can be carried out at the dentist’s clinic by the dentist himself. Arthroscopy is the procedure which is carried out with the help of arthroscope. Open-joint surgery is the last treatment option when none of the above treatment procedures are unsuccessful. Thus, TMJ problems can be treated successfully.cs_tmj_dualscreen shot 2013-11-05 at 1.05.53 pm