The word periodontal literally means "around the tooth." Periodontal diseases are serious bacterial infections that destroy the attachment fibers and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. Left untreated, these diseases can lead to tooth loss. The following are various forms of periodontal disease:
Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) consist of more than one condition and it not only affects the Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) but also the chewing muscles. This condition more often causes acute pain and the pain can be categorized as follows:
Research carried out by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research in USA has indicated that women are more affected by TMJ disorders than men.
The Temporomandibular joint or TMJ is located just in front of both the ears wherein the lower jaw or mandible meets the upper jaw or maxilla. There are number of moving parts at this joint which facilitate the upper jaw to close on the lower jaw. This is a sliding ball and socket joint with a disc sandwiched between it. The TMJ is required for chewing, biting, yawning, talking etc. and hence its usage is continuous.
This is a complex joint and consists of tendons, muscles, bones etc. and for painless chewing, talking, yawing etc. if the muscles have to be in a relaxed and balanced condition when you close or open the joints.
The group of problems of the jaw joint that are complex is called TMJ disorders. Since the joints and muscles have to work in unison any problem with either of them could lead to side effects such as head ache, stiffness, malocclusion, ear pain, clicking sounds and jaws getting locked.
This disorder could result because of any of the following conditions/ behaviors:
It is very important to see a periodontist for periodontal evaluation under the following circumstances.
Most of the TMJ problems are caused by the physical stress on the joint structures – Cartilage disk at the joint, teeth, jaw, face and neck muscles and nearby ligaments, blood vessels, and nerves.
The following are the symptoms that are associated with TMJ disorders:
Persons having TMJ disorders may have to undergo both medical and dental evaluation depending on the symptoms they show. This may involve examination by your doctor, ENT specialist and dentist.
If the movement of the jaws is accompanied by popping, clicking, and grating sounds you could suspect jaw joint damage. It will be very painful to chew and the jaw may neither lock nor open fully. The teeth might become smooth and there won’t be any bumps or ridges in the surface area.
Ear problems like ear infection, sinuses etc. could occur.
X-rays and CT scan will define bone details at the TMJ joint and MRI will help in analyzing soft tissues.
The main treatment for TMJ pain when it is acute is – application of heat or ice, soft diet and use of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Various treatment methods to be followed are as follows:
The following precautions might avoid the occurrence of TMJ disorders.