Jaw complaints

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Anatomy of the jaw

The temporomandibular joint is the joint that attaches the skull to the mandible. It is a complex and unique joint which generates a so-called paired movement. This means that the left-hand and right-hand jaw joint have to move at the same time. The upper jaw on the other hand cannot move because it is attached to the skull.

 

Complaints of the jaw are often a collective term for complaints which can be tracked back to the temporomandibular joint, the jaw and related structures. This is also called temperomandibular dysfunction. Usually these complaints occur by straining the muscles of mastication.

Symptoms of complaints of the jaw

Symptoms which are common for jaw complaints are clicking of the jaw, pain and limited mobility. When these signals are ignored and not treated, the pain may get worse and might get inside the joint and from there even radiate to the forehead, neck and shoulders. Other complaints like an earache or a continuous whistle in your ear can also be derived from the temporomandibular joint.

Causes of complaints of the jaw

The main factors in causing jaw problems are:

  • Teeth grinding and/or jamming of the jaw. The jamming often happens unaware;
  • Chewing gum, nail caustic;
  • Stress, fatigue or tension;
  • Arthritis, rheumatism;
  • An incorrect posture;
  • A poor fitting set of teeth.

The ‘ lock’    

If the ligaments of the temporomandibular joint are overstretched or torn, it can pull the cartilage disk from the jaw cup, causing them to have to push back when opening the mouth. If the cartilage disk cannot slide back while opening the mouth, it creates a blockage in the movement of the jaw, which is also called a ‘lock’. You cannot close or further open your mouth.

Treatment of complaints of the jaw

Complaints of the jaw are usually treatable. Initially it is important to relieve all pressure on the jaw joint and the muscles of mastication. This can be done by stopping nail biting, gum chewing and being careful with hard foods.

The complaint on the jaw can be solved by ensuring that all the surrounding muscles are functioning normally. You will receive advice and specific exercises, tailored to your situation. The condition of your neck, back and posture is included in the advice and exercises because they can also influence the jaw complaint.
Your cooperation is very important, because the success of the treatment is also determined by the effort and care with which you follow the instructions.