The science for painless chewing
Gnathology deals with the description of the masticatory system including teeth, chewing muscles, the jaw joint, the relation between the two dental arches and with the examination of their normal and abnormal behaviours and functions.
This is most often an issue prior to tooth replacement. Gnathology can give us information on the future success of prostheses, such as availability of space and aesthetic effect, and identifies physiological and functional disorders of the masticatory system that need correction, including extensive tooth wear, abnormal, so-called ‘forced bite’ or ‘parafunctional’ jaw bone position.
These problems are often noticed by patients themselves but sometimes they are only discovered at the time of the preparation of the prosthesis.
What can be the symptoms of tempormandibular disorders?
– masticatory muscle pain, jaw joint pain, pain around the ears, neck pain, facial pain, headache,
– hard to open the mouth
– clicking of the jaw joint
– noctural teeth grinding
– swelling of the face, usually under the eyes
What can be the cause of these symptoms?
All conditions that lead to the overloading of the jaw joint. For example:
– hereditary or acquired overbite
– wrong position of teeth or missing teeth
– prolonged oral surgery
– inadequate orthodontic treatment
What actions are to be taken?
The doctor usually palpates the muscles and the joint for orientation, then takes an imprint of the two jaw bones in order to observe the contact between the teeth of the upper and lower jaw bones, examining the resting position and movements of the lower jaw, and looking at where the teeth come into contact. Nowadays, it is also possible to measure these functions using a high-tech bite registration system. All these efforts are necessary to detect and then appropriately correct abnormalities.
Abnormalities must be treated and the integrity of the masticatory system restored. Once the masticatory problem has been resolved, the prosthesis can be fitted. This may prolong the duration of treatment, so we recommend regular check-ups to detect and treat such problems early.
How can these problems be treated?
In case of pain while consuming soft food, cooling with an ice pack, taking pain relievers or muscle relaxants can be advised. In the long run splints can be used.
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