What is TMJ - Temporo-mandibular Joint?

TMJ scull
The panoramic X-ray view shows the Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ). The TMJ is typical the type of joint called a "ball and socket joint". The ball is the rounded eminence visible in the detail to the left and is technically known as the "condyle" of the joint. The ball rotates in a cuplike depression (the socket) technically known as the "fossa". Although the joint looks like it is attached directly to the sinuses, it is actually separated from them by soft tissue ligaments which entirely enclose the joint, but are not visible on an X-ray.
TMJ joint
Also not visible is the meniscus which is a disk of cartilage that lies in the space between the condyle and the fossa and is capable of moving forward and backward as the jaw opens and closes. The condyle and the fossa are each covered with a thin layer of non movable cartilage. All three layers of cartilage help to provide s smooth, frictionless surfaces for comfortable joint operation.

What is TMD - Temporo-mandibular Dysfunction?

When a dentist thinks of TMJ, he or she tends to think more globally than just the anatomy of the joint. The joint is really a part of the larger system that makes the jaws work. To a dentist, TMJ problems include not only the joints themselves, but also the muscles, tendons and ligaments that allow them to move, and in fact, it is usually pain in these structures that drives most patients toward TMJ treatment. In dentistry, there are several different terms used to describe the problems associated with the "syndrome" (defined as a group of symptoms which have a common origin). Each term generally corresponds to a particular “aera" in the history of the study of the illness, but all are still in common use and mean the same thing with emphasis on slightly different aspect of the syndrome. They include MPD (MyoFascial Pain dysfunction), MFPDS (MyoFascial Pain dysfunction Syndrome), and the more general TMD (Temporo mandibular Dysfunction).

TMD Treatment - What helps?

TMD splint
The rehabilitation of the mechanical part of the TMD usually implements a treatment with a splint (night guard) to adjust the joints in a centric relation.
Once a reproducible position is installed it is a medical endpoint of the TMJ-treatment. But most of the time the patients want to go further and install this position in their real dentition. Depending on the amount of defect teeth on the one side an the ambition of the patient on the other side this can be done either orthodontically or prosthodontically or with a combination out of both. In very hard cases surgery might be necessary. Please ask us for further information.


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