Dr Stéfan Bester’s
The jaw joint, also known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint located on both sides of the face in front of the ears. It connects the lower jaw to the skull and is responsible for assisting the jawbone to rotate and slide, which then allows us to talk, chew and yawn.
When one or both TMJ joints become inflamed or painful, it is then called a temporomandibular joint dysfunction. This condition may occur due to the following:
- A wear and tear of the disc and ligaments interposed between the bony parts
- Loose or lost teeth which result in the damage of the jaw joint
- Poor alignment of the upper and lower jaws
- Infections deep in the jaw joint
- Damage to the joint due to an injury
Therefore, routine jaw joint examination is required to help Dr Bester evaluate the condition of the TMJ joint and the surrounding muscles and structures.
In most cases, TMJ evaluation form part of the comprehensive examination because the TM-joints form an integral part of any partial- or full crown/implants/denture reconstruction. The examination will include an extensive clinical joint assessment and also a CT- scan analysis and MRI –analysis if indicated. Dr Bester will examine your mouth and teeth to rule out any dental problems and then examine your bite (occlusion). He will palpitate the muscles in the face and neck to check for any signs of pain and trigger points. Other examinations, such as bimanual manipulation and load testing, will also be conducted.
The TM joints are a complex joint joined together by the lower jaw. Balance and alignment between both TM joints (on the left-hand side and right-hand side) and the teeth and associated muscles are of the utmost importance for a happy, functional chewing and speaking process. Wear on teeth or joints will affect the balance and alignment between these components with associated muscle pain and possibly joint pain and toothache.