Temporomandibular joint consists of the temporal bone and the jaw. Two bones that operate at the same time, each at one side of the head.
Anatomically, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) consists of the condyle of the jaw and the glenoid cavity of the temporal bone. Between them there is an oval plate of fibrocartilage called articular disk. A fibrous structure called articular capsule and two synovial cavities on each side (each of which is in charge of lubrication of the joint) surround the joint and protect it. There also is a system of ligaments that limits the movements of the articulation and works closely with the afore-mentioned capsule. When speaking of temporomandibular joint as a whole, we should not forget about the muscular system that makes the joint move when chewing and speaking (opening and closing, protrusion- retrusion, and lateralisation).
This muscle system is closely linked to the cervical muscles as well as to the posture adopted by the spinal column altogether. All in all, the dental system is part of the joint and its correct occlusion is of great importance (dental closure).
In conclusion, Temporomandibular joint as a whole is a structure of our body in charge of chewing, swallowing as well as phonation and it must be perfectly synchronised and have stability in its movements. If the afore mentioned are not achieved, temporomandibular problems may occur and they will have to be treated.
The so called group of diseases that can cause pain and / or TMJ disorders and cervical musculature. They can be caused by:
- Incorrect dental occlusion (occlusive interference, absence of lateral teeth, incorrect closing, etc. )
- Permanent muscular hyperactivity (bruxism)
- Psychological problems (stress, anxiety, etc.)
- Prolonged dental surgeries
- Incorrect postural hygiene
- Damaging habits
These dysfunctions can lead to:
- Head-neck- or backaches
- Pain in the articulation of the jaw
- Tension and pain in the face muscles after waking up
- Difficulties to open the mouth
- Mandibular blockages
- Articulatory noise when opening and closing the mouth or when chewing
- Mandibular subluxations (the feeling of mandibular dislocation)
- Feeling of dizziness
- Pain or problems when swallowing
These types of dysfunctions as well as their causes can lead to serious problems such as front and back disk displacement, subluxations or repetitious luxation, or even aggravation of the mandibular blockage that can influence the mouth opening ability. Therefore it is important to assess the patient’s state and propose the adequate treatment.
Physiotherapy for mandibular dysfunctions is crucial in order to deal with these types of diseases, but it should always be dealt with collectively as it’s not only about the correct cooperation between the dentist and the physiotherapist, but also about the correct diagnosis of the problem and the discovery of the origins of the problem that lead to success. Afterward the right multidisciplinary treatment is to be applied to obtain the desired results.
Our dentist will meet the patient and will assess his/her state. If the specialist arrives at the conclusion that a physiotherapist ought to make an assessment, it will be done immediately and the two professionals will agree on the treatment for the particular patient.
From then on, the physiotherapist will start the basic treatment that will entail diverse therapies and specific procedures, the standardization of the muscular tone, the restoration of the mobility of temporomandibular articulation, the improvement in the relation condyle-disk or the retraining of the patient’s correct postural hygiene, among others.