Treatment For Jaw Joint And Clenching
TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) is described as the jaw joint that connects lower jaw to the skull and helps in opening and closing of the jaw. Composed of muscles, tendons and bones, its very nature makes it a complex joint, each component of which contributes to the smooth operation of the TMJ.
TYPES OF TMJ DISORDERS
TMJ disorders are described as a group of complex problems of the jaw joint.
Usually the muscles and joints work together and a problem with either of them can lead to stiffness, headaches, ear pain, bite problems (malocclusion), clicking sounds, or locked jaws.
The following conditions can lead to TMJ disorders:
- Teeth grinding and teeth clenching (bruxism), which increases the wear on the cartilage lining of the TMJ. Its nature is such that it can only be detected by someone observing this pattern while sleeping or by a dental professional noticing telltale signs of wear and tear on the teeth. Many of such patients awaken in the morning with jaw or ear pain.
- Habitual gum chewing or fingernail biting.
- Dental problems and malalignment of the teeth (malocclusion). In this case, the problem arises when someone finds it difficult to bite or the teeth fit together has changed. Also, chewing on only one side of the jaw can lead to or be a result of TMJ problems.
- Trauma to the jaws which happens in the case of previous fractures in the jaw or facial bones.
- Stress which frequently leads to unreleased nervous energy in the form of either consciously or unconsciously grinding or clenching the teeth.
Except for surgery, there is no direct treatment as of now for TMJ disorders / pains. Also, it’s important to have multi-factorial and careful diagnosis and treatment.
HEAT THERAPY & MEDICATION
They help in reducing muscle tension and spasm.
It’s recommended that treatment with cold applications (Cold packs are helpful for relieving pain) be followed immediately after an injury to the TMJ
Under this treatment process, massage and laser bio stimulation are used to decrease pain and increase the range of motion and strength of the joint.
Under this treatment process, stress support groups, psychological counseling, and medications are used to help reduce muscle tension. Biofeedback further helps the patient to recognize the times of increased muscle activity and spasm and provides for methods to help control them.
It’s described as a custom-made acrylic soft or Hard splint, also called as Night Guard, that is fitted over the teeth. It’s commonly prescribed for night and acts to balance the bite and reduce or eliminate teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism).
CORRECTION OF BITE ABNORMALITIES
To correct bite abnormalities, corrective dental therapy, such as orthodontics, may be required to correct them. Also, dental restorations assist in creating a more stable bite while adjustments of bridges or crowns act to ensure proper alignment of the teeth.
It’s resorted to when all kinds of medical therapies have failed. Further, TMJ arthroscopy, ligament tightening, joint restructuring, and joint replacement are also considered in the most severe cases of joint damage or deterioration.