The temporomandibular joint, the only joint in the face, is located between the skull and the mandible and refers to the joint area composed of the musculoskeletal system such as the joint disc, ligaments, and surrounding muscles. When the temporomandibular joint is functioning normally, it can be said that it performs essential functions such as opening the mouth to speak and ingesting food. Temporomandibular joint disorder refers to a disease in which the function of the temporomandibular joint is impaired due to various factors such as inflammation and dislocation, which causes difficulties in daily activities such as opening the mouth, talking, and eating. It is also called temporomandibular joint disorder.
The main cause of temporomandibular joint disorder is various eating habits that put stress on the temporomandibular joint. Enjoy eating tough and hard foods such as dried squid and tough meat, chewing food on one side, biting your teeth, biting your nails or other objects with your front teeth, sleeping on your side, sleeping postures, etc. It is known that various lifestyle habits of In addition to facial trauma due to injury, psychological factors such as stress and nervousness, misalignment of occlusion due to malocclusion, sleeping habits with grinding teeth, and incorrect posture when working with the body bent on an excessively low work surface also have a significant influence on the occurrence. Several diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, are also known to cause symptoms.
The incidence of such temporomandibular joint disorder is high in people in their 20s and 30s, and it is reported that the incidence rate is higher in women than in men. In addition, the temporomandibular joint is a part where many blood vessels and nerves are distributed. When the temperature is lowered, the blood vessels constrict and the muscle tension increases by the released stress hormone. It is known that the incidence of temporomandibular joint disorder is higher in winter, when severe and strong cold continues compared to spring and summer. Now, let’s learn more about the main symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder, as well as various information related to treatment and prevention.
Main symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder
One of the most common symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder is pain. When you open your mouth wide, yawn, chew food, or when you chew food, you feel aching pain in the front of the ear. If the symptoms are severe, when you open your mouth, your jaw hurts, so you can’t open it wide, and you are severely limited in your mouth and jaw movements. Also, whenever you open your mouth, the temporomandibular joint makes a noise or makes a rattling movement, which is also a major symptom that occurs when symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder continue.
Temporomandibular joint disorder is often overlooked as a temporary phenomenon when symptoms occur. If the appropriate treatment time is missed, symptoms can worsen, limiting many basic daily activities, such as opening the mouth, chewing food, and talking. It can also lead to systemic symptoms in other parts of the body, such as neck and shoulder pain, headache, chronic fatigue, poor concentration, dizziness, tinnitus, and paralysis. When symptoms get worse, osteoarthritis, which causes structural changes in the joints, and permanent facial asymmetry caused by changes in the bones can occur.
It is known that if treatment is delayed for more than 6 months, treatment becomes difficult due to chronicity, and the improvement is also slow. As a general self-diagnosis standard, it is said that three or more fingers do not enter vertically with the mouth open. In particular, as it is known that temporomandibular joint disorder can be sufficiently prevented by correcting dietary habits and lifestyle when it occurs at an early stage, it is very important to maintain a management habit to alleviate symptoms.
Treatment and prevention of temporomandibular joint disorders
1. Diagnosis and several conservative treatments
To diagnose temporomandibular joint disorder, an occlusal test that checks and grasps psychological and behavioral factors and at the same time confirms molar engagement, an electromyography test that evaluates muscle tension, a radiograph to check the joint condition or bone tissue abnormality, Several tests, such as MRI, will be performed. And if you are diagnosed with temporomandibular joint disorder through these tests, you will be given various treatment methods such as occlusal therapy, physical therapy, drug therapy, exercise therapy, and behavior therapy depending on the symptoms. Occlusal therapy refers to a treatment that inserts a device to keep the jaw in a stable position, and physical therapy refers to treatment using poultice, laser, and ultrasound. In addition, drug treatment is treated by prescribing anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants, while exercise therapy is a treatment therapy that relieves symptoms by relaxing the muscles of the head, neck, and shoulder, including the temporomandibular joint, to improve blood circulation and waste products. .
2. Refrain from the habit of putting strain on the temporomandibular joint
Since the cause of temporomandibular joint disorder is largely due to various eating habits that put strain on the temporomandibular joint, it is recommended to reduce excessive intake of tough and hard foods such as dried squid, chewy meat, and gum. In addition, you should chew food evenly on both sides, and it is good to correct the habit of chewing only on one side. In addition, excessive temporomandibular joint exercise may cause worsening of symptoms, so it is not recommended to do so. In particular, in winter, people often bite their teeth with strong cold, which can cause deterioration of the temporomandibular joint function.
3. Stress Control Habits
Severe mental stress caused by exposure to tension and anxiety for a long time is also known to affect the occurrence of temporomandibular joint disorders.
It is also important to get enough sleep to get a good night’s sleep, and it is recommended to avoid eating foods that contain caffeine, salt, and nitrates. In addition, it is important to maintain a good posture when watching a monitor or TV, because sitting with your head straight forward, a posture with your head lowered frequently, and a habit of leaning down on an excessively low desk or workbench can also cause temporomandibular joint disorders.