Temporal Mandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ)

TMJ/TMD refers to a constellation of symptoms due to the overuse of the muscles of mastication (chewing muscles). The disorder is caused by a misalignment between the muscles, the temporal mandibular joint and the upper and lower teeth.

Causes

Overuse of the muscles of mastication is often caused by chronic subconscious clenching or grinding. This overuse causes chronic muscle shortening, muscle spasm, and compression of the muscle’s blood and nerve supply. These cause irritation that continues the pain/spasm cycle. Trigger points can develop causing pain to be referred in other areas including the teeth, face, ear, and head. Long term gum chewing, fingernail biting, and pencil chewing can also cause overuse symptoms.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the front of the face (often described as sinus headaches)
  • Head pain in the area of the temple, ear fullness, tinnitus
  • Grinding sounds in the jaw joint when eating or speaking
  • TM joint or facial pain when eating or speaking
  • Jaw locking or a limited range of jaw movement

Treatment

If you are experiencing these symptoms, we can help. We employ multiple physical therapeutic modalities to relax the muscles of mastication. They are very effective in reducing pain and restoring range of motion.Additional treatment possibilities to consider:

  • Dental evaluation or an appointment with a TMD specialist
  • A customized night guard to protect the teeth from fracturing due to pressure and overuse
  • Conscious awareness of possible daytime clenching and the unnecessary muscle overuse through gum chewing, etc.
  • Yoga, meditation or Tai Chi—all designed to help you understand how your interior world affects your physical well being

Trismus

Trismus is a condition in which either the jaw muscles spasm or the TM disc dislocates, reducing normal range of motion.

Symptoms

  • Reduced ability to open your mouth
  • Reduced ability to eat foods that require full mouth opening (e.g., apple, sandwich)
  • Difficulty brushing your teeth
  • Pain and/or difficulty while talking or during dental procedures

Causes

  • Trauma, such as falling on one’s face or being struck in the face
  • Eating hard or chewy foods
  • Prolonged mouth opening during dental procedures or teeth cleaning
  • After oral surgery
  • Radiation treatment for head and neck cancer resulting in fibrosis (hardening) of the facial muscles

Treatment

  • Massage
  • Ultrasound
  • Myofacial release
  • Kinesio taping
  • Dry needling
  • Home exercise
  • Stretching programs
  • Preventive re-injury education

Dynasplint® Trismus System

Invented by David Shulman, The Dynasplint® Trismus System aids in restoring physical function and, more importantly, quality of life to patients suffering from joint stiffness and limited range of motion in the muscles of mastication and the temporomandibular region. The Dynasplint Trismus System has been successful in treating these limitations in preliminary clinical trials. The key to its effectiveness is the low-load, prolonged-duration stretch (LLPS) technology that delivers a correct biological stimulus to create a permanent length change in the shortened connective tissue.For more information, download the Trismus System Brochure (PDF) or visit www.dynasplint.com.

Dynasplint Trismus System by David H. Shulman

Dynasplint Trismus System by David H. Shulman