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Teeth grinding and cracking in the jaw can be signs of CMD
Do you often suffer from headaches, chewing problems or cracking jaws? You may have cranio mandibular dysfunction (CMD). This is an umbrella term under which various incorrect regulations of the temporomandibular joint and the muscles and bones involved are summarized in dentistry. In an interview with the "dpa" news agency, experts explain which complaints are typical of a CMD and what victims can do about it.
Pain and dysfunction are characteristic
Whether jaw pain, an unmistakable crack when yawning in the morning, increased gnashing of teeth or difficulty opening your mouth: All of these symptoms can indicate a so-called "Cranio Mandibular Dysfunction" (CMD). This term is used by dentists to describe various functional disorders of the jaw, which are very common in this country. “Two symptoms stand out, namely pain and dysfunction. The pain affects the different areas of the chewing organ, the dysfunction relates to teeth, jaw joints and jaw movement, ”explains Oliver Ahlers from the CMD Center Hamburg-Eppendorf to the news agency“ dpa ”.
Various chronic complaints possible
Accordingly, the complaints can be of very different types and forms. During the one e.g. suffering from persistent jaw and toothache, other people constantly hear crackling and rubbing noises as soon as the jaw moves. Still others notice that they can no longer open their mouth properly and that chewing suddenly causes pain. In addition to uncomfortable facial pain, there are often radiating pains in the head, neck, back or shoulders. Other possible symptoms include ear pain and tinnitus, dizziness, difficulty swallowing, restricted vision and a prick in the chest due to tension in the back.
For pain and jaw problems, see a doctor
Signs of a CMD occur in up to 28 percent of the population, reports the "dpa". This was the result of the so-called "SHIP study" of the University of Greifswald, for which 8,700 participants were examined as part of a long-term study of the state of health of people in the Western Pomerania region. But not everyone affected has pain, rather many have no symptoms at all or only notice minimal functional disorders of the jaw, e.g. if cracking loudly when yawning. According to various studies, around three percent of the population would have a form of CMD that needed treatment, explains Ingrid Peroz. The expert is President of the German Society for Functional Diagnostics and Therapy in Dentistry, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (DGFDT).
As soon as pain occurs and / or the lower jaw can no longer be moved without restriction, according to Ingrid Peroz, a dentist should be consulted who can make a diagnosis using several steps. "First of all, it must be ruled out that there are classic dental diseases such as tooth decay, root and gum infections," explains Oliver Ahlers. Subsequently, for a short diagnosis, six different tests should normally be used to check whether the suspicion of a CMD is justified. If at least two of these tests are positive, the expert would follow up with further functional analyzes.
Bite splints and relaxation exercises can bring quick help
"If we find a malfunction, we first clarify how much therapy is required," Ingrid Peroz continues. Most of the time, the problems could be remedied by making a bite splint and self-treatment measures. Because in many sufferers, the CMD is caused by muscular tension in the chewing system and increased gnashing of teeth at night (bruxism) as a result of negative stress and tension. Accordingly, it is part of the therapy that the patients learn to consciously perceive these tensions and to reduce them through certain exercises.
Attach small notes to the screen
“First of all, I explain to the patient that the teeth have not lost anything to one another at rest,” says Peroz. Instead, the lower jaw is relaxed in the resting mode and the lips are closed, with the teeth not touching, explains the expert. However, those who tend to grit their teeth tightly in stressful situations usually do not notice this at all - therefore it can help if the affected person e.g. Put a notepad with a certain symbol on your screen in the office. As soon as you see this, you should consciously concentrate on the jaw position. If the teeth are pressed tightly at this moment, a short breath is advisable. If the lips are then closed loosely again, according to Peroz, one would “automatically come back into the relaxed distance.”
In addition, short massages of the temples or cheeks could help to relieve tension. However, if the mouth can no longer be opened properly, physiotherapy procedures such as Physiotherapy, heat therapy or stretching exercises are necessary. Inflammation in the temporomandibular joint would normally be done with joint irrigation and anti-inflammatory medication, in rare cases over-crowning of teeth or orthodontic treatment would also be necessary.
Chronic pain is difficult to treat
In some cases, the CMD has existed for such a long time that the pain becomes chronic and therefore a massive burden for those affected - including the psyche. As a result, psychosomatic problems, sleep disorders or depression often occur in these cases. However, according to Anne Wolowski of the German Society for Dentistry, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (AKPP), treatment is difficult for chronified patients. "If we don't get the problem under control if the patient works well with a bite splint, relaxation techniques and physiotherapy in three to six months, these measures are not enough," explains the senior physician at the University Hospital in Münster. If this occurs, pain therapy or behavioral therapy may be indicated. Wolowski points out that patience is very important when it comes to problems related to stress and tension. "The complaints came slowly, they have to sneak out again," said the expert. A period of two weeks would therefore not be enough to get rid of the pain.
Provide more peace in everyday life
In order to alleviate inner restlessness and "not to take tensions of everyday life with you", a variety of stress relief exercises are also available for those affected. For example, Progressive muscle relaxation according to Jacobsen or autogenic training, as well as Tai Chi or Yoga lead to a long-term improvement of the situation for many affected people. In people who suffer from bruxism, small changes in everyday life such as a TV-free bedroom will help you find more relaxation and sleep more peacefully at night. Aromatherapy can also naturally contribute to relieving psychological tension. Have proven themselves essential oils of lavender, lemon balm or valerian, e.g. can promote a good night's sleep in the form of a scented sachet on the pillow. (No)