TMJ syndrome

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2500 TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT (TMJ) SYNDROME Institute Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Syndrome Temporomandibular joint Syndrome is a pathological condition characterized by restrictions in the normal temporomandibular joint actions accompanied by pain in the joint. This syndrome is not associated with one single cause but may occur due to many different causes. The temporomandibular joint is the joint which is formed between the mandible which is commonly referred to as jaw and the temporal bone which is a bone of the skull. The arterial blood supply of the temporomandibular joint is mainly from the superficial temporal and the maxillary arteries. The venous supply is by the corresponding arteries. The nerve supply of the joint is derived from the auriculotemporal nerve and the masseteric nerve. The movements of the normal joint include forward movement of the mandible, side to side movements which occur while eating food, lowering of the jaw for opening the oral cavity and then subsequently elevation of the joint for closing the mouth. There are around 35 million cases of this condition in the United States. The condition is known to have a greater predisposition towards women with the females being more affected than males with this condition. TMJ syndrome has been associated with many diseases which include inflammation of the joints of the body as well as hormonal problems and the pathology also has a hereditary component and hence genetic factors also tend to play a role. It is also associated with trauma which may result due to accidental injury or as a result of punch to the mandible. Accidental injury may be due to not wearing helmets or putting on the seat belt while driving. The symptoms associated with the injury include severe pain in the jaw which may also present with pain in the face and the neck. The movements of the joints become limited and it becomes increasingly difficult for the person to talk as well as move the jaw. Headache and nausea are other associated symptoms. The normal alignment of the teeth can also not be done. Pain in the ear may also occur due to this pathology. The diagnosis of this condition is based mainly on the history. The medical practitioner needs to assess all the symptoms and relate them with the causes and reach to an evaluation of the condition. Thus, there are no specific tests required to diagnose this syndrome. The immediate treatment is directed towards the relief of pain which is given by providing non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs which may be supplemented with medications that relax the muscles. Application of ice packs along with advice to the patient to avoid prolonged jaw movements should be given. The patient should be kept on a liquid diet preferably. Another form of conservative treatment is a guard which is kept on the lower or upper jaw covering the teeth. This assists in relieving pain and is known as a ‘stabilizing splint’. If medical treatments fail, surgical treatments are prescribed but they are only used as a last option. The surgery is used to alter the dentition and correct the position of the joint. Artifical implants are also used in some cases. There are no particular screening programs and preventive measures for this condition. A proper history and genetic predisposition can make it easier to diagnose condition. Trauma should be avoided by the normal possible measures to avoid this problem. References: Top of Form Barney, P. (1998).&nbsp.Doctor’s guide to natural medicine: The complete and easy-to-use natural health reference from a medical doctor’s perspective. Pleasant Grove, Utah: Woodland Pub. Top of Form Brust, J. C. M. (2007).&nbsp.Current diagnosis &amp. treatment in neurology. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical. Bottom of Form Bottom of Form National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). (March 2010) “TMJ Disorders.” National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from: Top of Form Snell, R. S. (2008).&nbsp.Clinical anatomy by regions. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams &amp. Wilkins. The TMJ Association. TMJA. (September 3,2010) “TMJD Basics.” Retrieved from: Bottom of Form