There are many factors that can cause damage to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) structures or impair normal functional relationships between condyle, disc and eminence. The main symptoms associated with TMJ dysfunction are pain, limited mobility of the mandible, spasticity of the masticatory muscles and sound that is produced in the joint during mandibular movement. Pain originates from nociceptors located in soft tissue of the joint. If the soft tissue structures are not in inflammation, the pain is sharp, sudden and intense tightly connected to the movements in the TMJ. If the inflammation is presented, the pain is constant and increases with the movements in the joint. TMJ dysfunction is manifested by feeling stiffness of the joint, limited and/or altered opening of the mouth with deviation or deflection of the mandible. Individual or multiple sound produced by the TMJ are most often the consequence of the disturbed function of the condyle-disc complex, the morphological incompatibility of the joint surfaces or degenerative changes in them. The signs and symptoms of disease and dysfunction of TMJ are different and depend on the duration of the disorders and its chronicity as well as on the individual sensitivity of the patients. Proper identification of symptoms and precise diagnosis are therefore essential for future treatment.
Part of the book: Maxillofacial Surgery and Craniofacial Deformity