The joint disease that one in five have and don't know it.
Do you have it?
See the checklist Below
What is this thing called "TMJoint" Dysfunction that we see described in more and more newspapers and magazines? Is it a rare, newly discovered disease that will probably never affect us? In actuality, about one in five have some form of this syndrome.

The Temporomandibular Joint is right in front of each ear and is where the lower jaw (mandible)hinges to the skull (temporal) bone on each side. The relationship of the teeth in closing (occlusion) will determine the position of the TMJoints and the muscles attached therein. This disease entity is often misdiagnosed because it is frequently accompanied by referred pain to the ear, head, neck, face, and/or back. Although other symptoms such as clicking in the joints, tinnitus(ringing in the ears), dizziness, or hearing loss may also be present, structural evaluation should be employed to diagnose this syndrome conclusively. Symptoms should be used as clues. Structural analysis should be used to confirm your suspicions.

Anyone exhibiting one or more of the a aforementioned symptoms may utilize the following checklist to determine the need for advice from a dentist, concerning a TMJoint problem.

  • Are there any wisdom teeth present?
  • Does a removable denture need relining?
  • Is adequate chewing efficiency present on one side only?
  • Do the upper front teeth overlap or completely cover the lower front teeth while closing on the back teeth?
  • Is there an observable facial asymmetry with one eye noticeably higher than the other?
  • Are there any unreplaced missing teeth?
  • Do the teeth feel locked in place upon closure?
  • Are any teeth or crowns flatter or more worn down than they should be?
  • Does a bad bite (malocclusion) or a cross bite exist?
  • Does only one tooth touch when closing very gently while lying on your back?
Because auditory-related problems are common in this syndrome, more otolarygologists refer TMJoint patients to dentists than any other specialist. The contiguity of the TM Joint to the ear plus the existence of the little known Pinto's (mandibular-malleolar) ligament, that connects the articular head of the lower jaw with the malleus bone inside the ear, helps to explain these problems despite the absence of any discernible inner ear pathology.

Isn't it interesting to ponder the fact that all of the symptoms I have mentioned are not only related to this TMJoint syndrome but are also repeatedly blamed on that inevitable, inexplicable aging process?

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Stuart A. Greene, DDS-FAGD
2009 Birdcreek Terrace Temple, TX 76502 254.773.9007 | Fax 254.773.8051

©2004 Stuart A. Greene, DDS-FAGD | Online since 1996 | Updated Continuously

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