TEMPORO-MANDIBULAR JOINT SYNDROME (TMJ) (Myofascial Pain-Dysfunction Syndrome; MPD)
TEMPORO-MANDIBULAR JOINT SYNDROME (TMJ)
(Myofascial Pain-Dysfunction Syndrome; MPD)
DESCRIPTIONTemporo-mandibular joint syndrome means pain and inflammation in the temporo-mandibular joint (the joint on either side of the jaw that opens and closes the mouth) and adjoining muscles. The temporo-mandibular joint, facial muscles, and sensory nerves are involved. TMJ affects both sexes of older children, adolescents, and adults.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Doctor's or dentist's treatment. Your dentist may manufacture, fit and install a night-guard prosthesis to prevent tooth-grinding while the child is asleep. A night-guard prosthesis consists of removable splints that fit over the tops of the child's teeth to eliminate incorrect biting pressure.
Psychotherapy or counseling, including biofeedback training, to help the child learn new ways to cope with stress.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSDull, aching pain on one side of the child's jaw (below the ear) that radiates to the temples, back of the head and along the jaw line.
Tenderness of the muscles used to chew.
"Clicking" or "popping" sounds when opening the mouth.
Inability to open the jaw completely.
CAUSESRelieve muscle tension caused by stress.
Correct a faulty alignment ("bite") between the upper and lower jaws.
Grinding teeth and contracting jaw muscles in an unconscious attempt by the child to:
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEYour child should not grind the teeth and should learn techniques for relaxing muscles and relieving tension, such as biofeedback, meditation, and exercise.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor or dentist.
X-rays of the child's temporo-mandibular joint.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSWithout treatment, bone in the child's temporo-mandibular joint may erode and deteriorate.
With treatment, the child's symptoms can be controlled, and behavior that produces symptoms can be modified. A jaw misalignment can also be corrected.
No specific instructions except those listed under other headings.
Ice and/or heat may be of slight benefit in relieving the child's discomfort, but will not cure.
MEDICATIONYour doctor may prescribe:
--Tranquilizers or muscle relaxants for a short time.
--Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
For minor pain, use non-prescription drugs, such as aspirin or acetaminophen.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
DIET & FLUIDS
Your child should eat a soft diet until symptoms subside.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When appetite returns and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of temporo-mandibular joint syndrome.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.