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Gnathology (jaw joint pain)
Gnathology is a branch of dental medicine that studies the jaw joint, interjaw relationships and relationships between teeth. It can help us in the therapy of jaw joint pain, chewing muscle pain and in finding the cause of excessive wear of dental tissue. The causes of pain are multiple, and can be divided into three basic causes:
1. excessive wear of dental tissues
2. parafunctional movements (bruxism)
3. pathological changes in the joint structure
As a result of the excessive wear of dental tissue, there is a disturbance in the relationship between the upper and lower jaw and movements in the joint that cause clicking and pain. The muscles involved in speaking, swallowing and chewing are strained more during the so-called parafunctional movements.
These are movements that we cannot control, and they cause muscle inflammation and pain. The most common parafunctional movement is bruxism.
Pathological structural changes that cause pain can occur in all joints, including the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). In order to make a good diagnosis in the case of jaw joint pain, knowledge and experience are needed because the causes are usually complex.
Therapy begins by reducing acute pain. This requires anti-inflammatory drugs and a splint that must be individual.
When the initial pain subsides, the cause should be found and all necessary steps should be taken to restore the painless state in the mouth. This usually requires oral rehabilitation.
It includes the filling of toothless spaces, the reconstruction of worn dental tissue, the relief of parafunctional movements with splints and the implementation of special physiotherapy exercises to relax the muscles of the jaw, head and neck.