Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are a common lifestyle disease encompassing a number of clinical problems that involve the muscles of mastication (chewing muscles), the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and the dental occlusion. It is a debilitating disease with symptoms that include pain and tenderness in the masticatory muscles, clicking sounds/noises in the TMJ when chewing, pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) which is in front of the ear, limited ability to open the mouth, locking of the jaw and asymmetric movements of the jaw. Clicking noises in the TMJ or internal derangement of the articular meniscus is a common phenomenon and could be the start of the disease process. If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, you should book an appointment with Dr Kruger for a detailed assessment.
Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) may be caused by several factors, including injuries to the jaw, excessive teeth grinding and jaw clenching, systemic inflammatory disease, psychosomatic disease, joint infection as well as congenital or hereditary conditions.
There are three main components of temporomandibular disorders. These are masticatory muscles, temporomandibular joint and dental occlusion.
It's important for all the components to be assessed in a clinical and radiological examination to determine the extent of the problem before your treatment can be recommended and individualised. Since these disorders can be aggravated by stress, tensing of the masticatory muscles, jaw discrepancies, your recommended treatment will depend on your individual needs and might involve your dentist, physiotherapist, orthodontist, maxillofacial surgeon and possibly a psychologist or psychiatrist. Left untreated, your TMD problems may become more severe over time.
Common TMD treatment involves dietary adjustments, bite plate therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, laser treatment, and injection of botulinum toxin into the painful muscles. Surgery is seldom indicated and might include temporomandibular joint surgery or orthognathic surgery.