Dr. I hurt my right ear for a few days and is the first time I have this trouble. Can it be an ear infection?
This is a common question that patients make a doctor. Dr. explores the patient and determines that it is not an ear infection, although the discomfort or pain are ahead of the ear canal and increase the feel or press the area, even spread over the face. There is also discomfort when opening and closing the mouth, sometimes, with snapping in the area that hurts. The doctor informs the patient that there is an ear infection, but Temporomandibular Joint, so you have to visit the specialist in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery .
The temporomandibular joint is a joint that allows opening and closing the mouth as a hinge but more complex. "Temporomandibular" because the fixed part is in the temporal bone of the skull and "Mandibular" because the moving part is in the jaw.
Why hurt the Joint temporamandibular?
Joint temporamandibular hurts because is forced to work harder than it deserves and do it in poor condition, although the patient is not aware of this situation. This Overwork is unconscious and is known as bruxism; is clenching or grinding teeth.
Bruxism forces the joint, which theoretically makes guide jaw movements, working as a joint load; such as knee. Temporomandibular Joint is not designed for this and as a result a progressive deterioration of their structures occurs, the bony parts, the articular disc, sleeve or joint capsule and masticatory muscles.
Bruxism can not be cured, but can decrease their intensity and frequency. To improve this situation, it should act on the stimuli that trigger, which are mainly negative emotional situations that unfortunately are many.
Also, such stimuli can be triggered by defects of the structure of the mouth area, mainly:
- Missing teeth
- Leftover teeth
- The teeth are badly placed
- The jaws do not have the right size
Defects in the structure of the mouth area can be solved with implants, surgery, orthodontics or a resource common and very effective use is the bite splint or rest.
Treatment of bruxism
To find the proper treatment of bruxism in each patient, it is important to study your full medical history and perform a thorough scan. The latter must be accompanied by radiological studies and relevant laboratory, CT's, MRI, Rx, molds or models of teeth, among others.
Edited by Noelia García Pino