TMJ Diagnosis & Treatment
How To Diagnos and Treat Patients
What is TMJ dysfunction?
Temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
is commonly misunderstood and often goes
undiagnosed. It’s an integral part of
myofunctional orthodontics because if you
have poor oral function (or soft tissue
dysfunction) you'll nearly always have some
sort of TMJ disorder.
First up we have to define TMJ. A lot of doctors don’t really know what we’re talking about in terms of a broader aspect of TMJ dysfunction. What causes it, how do we evaluate the patient, what’s our diagnosis, and how do we treat the problem?
TMJ disorder was first identified in 1934 by Dr J B Costen, and is a condition that occurs when the TMJ's are subjected to excess pressure through misalignment of the teeth, muscles and jaw. Dr Costen demonstrated the fact that ear, head and neck pain could be eliminated by correcting an improper bite and removing excess pressure on the TMJ's by ‘opening the bite’ with intra-oral splints.
The symptoms of TMJ disorder can differ from patient to patient, making diagnosis troublesome.
The TMJ is quite a complex joint. Many doctors think the joint has a rotational movement; however Fonder showed that the opening and closing of the mandible pivots around the C1 and C2 vertebrae, meaning that it’s an integral part of cervical function as well. This is why many patients exhibit neck disorders along with TMJ disorder.
Most of the time the focus is on the joint, when the symptoms aren’t actually related to the joint. The symptoms are more concerned with the cranio-mandibular muscles.