TMJ Diagnosis & Treatment
How To Diagnos and Treat Patients
What causes TMJ Disorder?
Many dentists think it is just grinding the teeth and advise patients to wear a splint in order to stop teeth grinding, although this is not always a significant factor in TMJ disorder.
Any trauma to the joint is going to cause a TMJ dysfunction. Accidents, falls and whiplash injuries are some of the most common contributors to TMJ disorder. It’s so widespread it can't be just traumatic injury to the joint. It’s understandable that if the jaw sustains a blow, damage can occur, but what about a lifetime of incorrect swallowing patterns and an open mouth posture?
With a correct, normal swallow there is no distilisation of the condyle, but an incorrect swallow and mouth open posture will distilise the condyle twice a minute. This is a substantial source of the trauma to the joint, and a common cause of TMJ disorder.
Patients who display excessive muscle activity (even children) will most likely have the precursor for TMJ disorder. Anything that distilises or pushes the mandible back is going to cause TMJ disorder, and one of the most common causes of this is poor myofunctional habits.
We see these patients also have poor posture. Dr Mariano Rocabado was the first one to discover the association between class II, forward head posture and cranio-cervical issues. These patients (even the younger ones) have poor posture and this can be improved by correcting their swallowing patterns. So you’ll see these patients, children particularly, who have TMJ disorder are very fidgety and they cannot swallow with their head sitting correctly on the spine. A patient exhibiting a normal swallow should display very little back-and-forth rocking movement of the head on the spine. The reverse swallow is quite a severe action and this is why the muscles are in dysfunction all the time - they’re overworking.