Osteoarthritis of the temporomandibular joint
Temporomandibular joints, less frequently called mandibular joints are one of the most complex joints of the human body, and one of the most commonly used, they are involved in the movements carried out during:
- chewing gum
These are two symmetrical joints, right and left, in which the movements occur simultaneously.
What cause the Osteoarthritis of the temporomandibular joint
Research indicates that approximately 15% of osteoarthritis of the temporomandibular joint disorder is caused during growth or has a genetic basis. The remaining 85% are acquired defects. In the formation of degenerative changes of the temporomandibular joint, genetic factors and sex play a significant role.
Degenerative changes of the temporomandibular joint, as well as of other joints are usually created as a result of injury or overload. The formation of the disorder in question may also be affected by:
- overload associated with for example clamping of the teeth
- trauma of the temporomandibular joint usually caused by a car accident or battery
The formation of the disorder in question may also be affected by:
- chronic stress causing producing excessive muscle tension, also at rest, which results in change of the settings and shape of the articular surfaces
- incorrect body posture
- missing teeth
- incorrectly selected dentures
- incorrect positioning of the teeth in the arch
- incorrect position of the tongue
- contractions of the upper respiratory tract resulting in chronic mouth breathing
- teeth clenching, teeth grinding
- loss of teeth, particularly molars
In the initial period of the development of degenerative changes, the symptoms are nonspecific. The main symptom of the degenerative process including the temporomandibular joint is radiating pain, usually of a sharp character. This pain, as in the case of degenerative changes involving other joints, increases when burdening the joint, and performing movements which are both active and passive. This can cause restricted mobility. Pain may also occur when touching (palpation) of the joint area. Degenerative changes of this joint are rarely accompanied by crackling and skipping, more often their cause is the displacement of the articular disc.
Typical symptoms of osteoarthritis of the temporomandibular joint:
- A dull ache in the area of: the ear, temple, back of the head or shoulders
- Difficulty in opening and closing the mouth
- Dizziness or nausea
- Numbness or tingling in the fingers
- Locking of the jaw when opening or closing the mouth
On the X-ray of the temporomandibular joint covered by the degenerative changes, flattening or unevenness of the head of the mandible can be seen, the flattening of the articular tubercle and acetabulum, osteophytes, and bone erosions.
Degenerative changes of the temporomandibular joint can often coexist with degenerative changes in other joints of the body.
In order to avoid painful symptoms of the temporomandibular joints, a few simple rules are recommended:
- Avoid jaw injuries - remember that any injury leaves a trail.
- Take care of a well-placed bite - thanks to this you will not always enforce an unnatural position
- Exercise regularly - a correct posture positively affects the position of the temporomandibular joint
- Take care of your teeth - their loss, especially of the molars carries serious consequences. Their functions are taken by the teeth adjacent which may seriously may burden the joint
- Relax yourself - relax loosens the muscles, you can apply a series of relaxation exercises especially for the muscles entangling the temporomandibular joint