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Pain in the neck: Do not take it lightly

The joint between the mandibular condyle and the glenoid fossa of the skull is known as the temporomandibular joint. It is responsible for the movement of the lower jaw. The stability if this joint is a part of the health of the stomatognathic system. A healthy stomatognathic system is the one in which the teeth, muscle and the joint are in harmony.

TMj Treatment

Patients who undergo full mouth rehabilitation or restoration of worn dentition have to maintain the harmony between the teeth, muscles and joint. Bite restoration is to be done following a series of complex steps which aim in maintaining the occlusion at a pre existing point known as the centric relation. It is important to confirm this relation at every step to ensure no complications after the completion of the treatment.

An long standing imbalance in the occlusion may manifest as head ache, neck pain or shoulder pain owing to the abnormal stress the muscles are being subjected to. When the occlusion is not in its balanced position it stresses the joint and does not allow it to return to its rest position. This as a result causes the muscles to be strained and produce symptoms as head, neck or shoulder pain.

It is very important to rule out the cause of the disbalance and treat it to relieve the symptoms and correct the position of the TMJ. This would again maintain the harmony and relieve of the signs and symptoms.

A stiff neck can be relieved by adjusting the occlusion of a new restoration. Selective grinding can be a treatment option in case of single tooth restoration. In complex full mouth rehabilitation cases, Tek scan or T Scan which is a digital occlusal analysis system helps to analyse the occlusion, occlusal stability and force on individual teeth. It helps to find out the reason behind occlusal imbalance. It is used in patients with TMJ problems. It helps to screen your bite position and occlusion  from the baseline.

Joint vibration analysis is another technique to relieve TMJ pain. It is based on the principles of motion and friction produced by surfaces. It is recorded by accelerometers. Utilizing these advanced techniques the cause of the pain can be ruled out and treated accordingly. Orthodontic treatment options may be chosen in case of correction of an altered bite due to tooth position or angulation. In case a single restoration occlusal adjustment should suffice.

Of untreated the TMJ pain may exaggerate and even lead to neuromuscular problems. Therefore correct assessment of the reason behind the pain needs to be ruled out. This should them be followed by relevant treatment. Any pain in head, neck and shoulder should be considered as a possibility of referred pain due to dental problems as well. Consult your dentists for a joint vibration analysis or Tek scan to rule out the etiology and perform required treatment to relieve of all signs and symptoms.