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A joint is where two bones meet to allow smooth movement. The TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) or the jaw joint is formed between the mobile condyle of the lower jaw (mandible) and fixed temporal bone of the skull. Any disturbance within the joint would end up as TMJD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder).
The TMJ is the highest joint in the postural chain. Thus, with every change in the position of the mandible, there would be a possible change in position of cervical vertebrae, leading to major postural alterations. A poor alignment of the lower jaw to the neck and the head results in a skeleton-muscular disorder classified as Cranio-Cervical Mandibular Disorder (CCMD).
Sleep is a vital but often neglected, component of every person’s overall health and well-being. It has quickly become one of the most easily disturbed lifestyle disabilities that can play havoc on your mental health status, stress levels, immunity, cognitive and behavioral functions.
Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a disorder characterized by repetitive episodes of nocturnal breathing cessation due to upper airway collapse. OSA causes severe symptoms, such as excessive daytime somnolence, and is associated with a significant cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
The upper airway obstructions result from nasopharyngeal blockages like polyps, adenoids or deviated septum; oro-pharyngeal anatomical variations like macroglossia or posterior mandibular positioning; Velo-epiglotto-pharyngeal occlusions like tonsillitis or a long uvula or even a large neck circumference (increased BMI). All these possible obstructions impinge upon the airway, making it difficult to breathe. The tongue, which is basically a muscle directly attached to the mandible, is often the biggest troublemaker.
During sleep when the body is at rest the mandible falls back pulling the tongue backwards. As the tongue falls back, it vibrates hitting the Uvula creating a snoring sound.
This, along with other airway obstructions, decreases the oxygen saturation in your body. These desaturation episodes result in episodes of micro-arousals occurring during sleep. Micro-arousals are considered to be the main causal factor for night jaw-closing muscles activation called bruxism. Bruxism is characterized by grinding and clenching of the teeth or by bracing or thrusting of the mandible. This leads to overuse of your Temporomandibular joint, its associated muscles and wearing away of your teeth till becomes symptomatic or painful.
Almost 80% suffer from OSA related clenching/bruxism which they are seldom aware of.
We at Dental World, have a team of dedicated specialists to diagnose and treat Temporomandibular Joint Disorders, CCMD, OSA related bruxism.
The focus is to holistically and non-surgically treat along the tenets of Neuromuscular Dentistry.
Almost all of the above problems result from occlusal discrepancies, i.e., faulty relation of your upper and lower teeth to each other, determined by jaw positioning. This leads to muscular strain which eventually affects the osseous structures of your joints.
If the jaw is not properly aligned, neuromuscular dentistry may help to address the precise cause of the problem — whether jaw joint, muscle or tooth position. Treatment plans developed by dentists are designed to correct bite abnormalities by allowing the jaws to go to their optimal positions for the long term.
We aim to correct your jaw position , muscle spam , by relaxing your muscles using state of the art technology that includes Ultra Low Frequency Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation (ULF-TENS). This treatment involves placing electrodes on your jaw, neck and shoulder areas that transmit mild electrical stimulation to repeatedly contract the jaw muscles in order to relax them.
Adjustments to a person’s bite can be accomplished using an oral appliance — Orthotic — until the bite has been permanently stabilized. Or, orthodontic work may be required to ensure proper alignment, in addition to dental restorations such as crowns, or tooth recontouring (equilibration).
You can sometimes ease strain on your joints and ease your symptoms by:
If your TMJD is related to stress, your dentist may recommend relaxation techniques or refer you to your doctor.
The symptoms can vary greatly from one person to the another. There are lot of symptoms associated with TMD. Some of the common symptoms include:
The temporomandibular jaw joint is a delicately balanced mechanism. Although the joint is small, it is essential to many interrelated functions such as facial expressions, eating and speaking. It is interconnected with the musculoskeletal function. Compression of the jaw joint from a poor bite can place pressure on the nearby bones affecting balance and hearing. Compensating muscles can entrap nerves leading to referring pain and numbness to other areas of the neck and upper back regions.
TMD can be provoked by trauma, certain oral habits, health care procedures and diseases such as osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. Current research shows malocclusion could be a major contributing factor to TMD. Resolving poor positioning of the lower jaw can provide relief and healing. However, research has not yet determined all the possible causes of temporomandibular joint dysfunction
TMD can be treated by well-trained neuromuscular dentists. Treatment consists of an in-depth assessment and evaluation. Oral appliances are often recommended. Permanent solutions such as orthodontics or dental restorations may be indicated as per the evaluation done by a TMD specialized dentist.
TMD does not go away on its own. As our body tries to accommodate the problems associated with it, it can with time become worse when left untreated. In the vast majority of cases, TMD, if left untreated will continue to progress, damage to your jaw and neck, tooth damage, cause pain, and loss of bone as well as teeth.