“TMJ” stands for temporomandibular joint, with consists of two bones (temporal, in the cranium, and the mandible). Between those two bones there is an element usually called “articular disk”, which basically avoids that the bones rub against one another, being the structure that connects the mandible with the head. Its function is to act as a sliding hinge between the bones.
The temporomandibular joints are two of the most used joints in the human body. Those, in synergy, are used during mastication, phonetics, when yawning or when swallowing, including any action that requires that the mouth is open or closed. They are also used during abnormal or dysfunctional activities, like when clenching teeth (bruxism).
In the normal temporomandibular joint, there are never noises like clicks, and there should not be pain at all. If the TMJ gives clicks or hurts when opening or closing the mouth, those are signs of an abnormal joint.
In Clínica Dental Padrós-Creus Muntaner we have an area with the most advances technology to do the necessary tests for the diagnosis of each patient, with the maximum precision, like the evaluation of magnetic Resonance Images or CBCT images. These techniques will help determine the most efficacious treatment to treat this painful pathology for the patient.
Symptoms usually related to TMJ problems
Temporomandibular problems require conservative treatments for a correct function of the joint of our mandibles. This pathology should be evaluated examining the condylar position, which is responsible many times of the functional limitations and painful symptoms in the region, such as opening limitation, strong headaches and migraines related with the tension of the facial, mandibular and neck muscles; tinnitus problems (ear jingling or noise perception), lack of audition without problems in the inner ear, and other related problems.
The treatment and rehabilitation of all the joints of the human body, including TMJ, is based in the use of conservative manoeuvres which are minimally invasive.
In very few cases, when the problem intensifies too much because a preventive treatment has not been performed, some surgical procedures may be needed, even open maxillofacial surgery in the TMJ, or even an arthroscopy through which we introduce an intraarticular camera so the doctor can facilitate the visualisation of the joint, to perform the necessary interventions. This way we may need to perform some aggressive procedures to treat some orofacial pain causing problems, which will permit the proper movement of the mandible.
In our clinic, we use a splint during the day to enhance the relation of the mandible with the maxilla, and a nocturnal appliance to allow the relaxation of muscles and joints following the principles and theories of Professor Ralph Garcia. This protocol makes up a highly successful treatment for temporomandibular dysfunction. Most patients respond very favourably to the therapy with the day-time and night-time appliances.