The articulation of the jaws is commonly known as: Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ).
Normally, upon opening of the mouth, the inferior jaw (mandible) rotates within a fossa (temporal fossa) and slides along a disc (meniscus) anteriorly.
Functional problems of the TMJ may stem from different causes and lead to multiple problems.
Treatment will vary depending on patient variability and the diagnosis. These conditions commonly entail a multidisciplinary approach.
Initially, we aim to eliminate muscular spasms, inflammation of the joint, as well as articular pain. At this stage, patient homecare remains a crucial aspect of the healing process. Multiple techniques may be indicated towards stress management, physiotherapy and/or osteopathic treatments.
Fabrication of a transparent plastic appliance (occlusal splint) that adapts to your dentition allows both muscle relaxation and pain reduction. This appliance may be worn at night to avoid further premature destruction of tooth structure. This is commonly fabricated by your dentist.
At times, medication and/or injections may be used as needed.
The correction of the occlusion by equilibration, orthodontics, or surgery may be used in certain cases of severe malocclusions (Refer to: Orthognathic surgery).
In rare cases, articular surgery may be indicated.