Joints – mobile connections of the skeleton bones, providing the possibility of movement. The human body has more than 350 joints. But if we consider the skull, then the only moving bone in it is the lower jaw, which connects with it through the most complex and “capricious” joint – the temporomandibular. Joint dysfunctions bring many inconveniences to patients and are difficult to treat. The causes of joint dysfunction are quite diverse, but new studies by German scientists have proved the connection between the appearance of pain in the joint and depression.
Joint dysfunction – understand in terms
Dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a collective term that combines many diseases and unpleasant symptoms of various origins.
Clicks in the joint, difficulty opening the mouth, pain with or without stimuli – all this can be combined with the term “dysfunction”. Joint dysfunction affects not only the condition of the oral cavity – pathological abrasion of enamel, periodontal overload with subsequent development of inflammatory or inflammatory-dystrophic complications, loss of teeth, but also the general condition of the patient. Joint diseases are a source of headaches. Some experts see this as one of the causes of migraines, as well as violations of posture.
Despite the wide variety of reasons for the formation of pain in the joint, dentists can not always indicate what caused the unpleasant symptoms. It is for this reason that this issue pays great attention, research continues, new knowledge and data appear.
What can cause joint pain?
The tooth-jaw system is a single whole. At the slightest violation there are failures in her work. And the whole system begins to suffer as a whole, it is impossible to single out one particular area. The most sensitive in this system are exactly joints lower jaw.
For example, the loss of even one tooth is associated with the formation of the so-called Popov-Hodon phenomenon, when the teeth surrounding the missing tooth begin to shift relative to each other, trying to close the resulting void. Not only adjacent teeth with a defect, but also antagonists – those with which the lost tooth (s) came into contact during the closing of the jaws, are subject to displacement.
Dental dislocation occurs rather quickly: literally several months after the loss of the tooth (s), their displacement can be noticed, and the longer the treatment of secondary adentia is absent, the more pronounced the change.
Due to the incorrect position of the teeth, the chewing load is unevenly distributed, periodontal disease (a complex of tissues holding the tooth in place) and the joint begin to suffer. There is pain, clicks, a feeling of fatigue, even after a short conversation.
At long intervals due to the absence of teeth and long-term refusal of treatment pain in the joint becomes pronounced and no longer depends on the action of irritating factors.
In fairness it should be noted that such changes can take shape over a long time, literally over the years, which depends on many factors. Perhaps for precisely these reasons, patients cannot understand the connection and prefer to ignore the pain, postponing the visit to the dentist indefinitely.
The loss of teeth can cause bite abnormalities, due to which it becomes underestimated, and, as a result, pathological abrasion of teeth is formed. Improper occlusion (closure of teeth) causes increased stress on the joint. And if the process does not intervene in a timely manner, its dysfunctions develop and pain appears.
Overestimation and understatement of bite during prosthetics or dental fillings is one of the reasons for the formation of joint dysfunction. Unfortunately, a violation of the technique of staging seals, aesthetic restorations using veneers and even lumineers increased the number of patients with joint dysfunction.
We should also separately highlight the formation of joint dysfunction after orthodontic treatment. Errors in treatment, poor quality prediction of treatment results and ignoring the warning signs are a common cause of joint pathologies.
Joint dysfunctions can provoke various types of injuries: blows, bruises, fractures of the jaws, especially if no qualified assistance has been rendered or the patient himself does not follow the recommendation of the doctor.
In a separate group of causes of the formation of joint dysfunction include diseases of the nervous system, mental disorders and depression.
Depression and pain in the joint
“All diseases from nerves” is a well-known expression explaining the role of stress in the formation of numerous diseases of internal organs. To date, there has been heated debate and debate about the role of prolonged depression and stress in the formation of TMJ dysfunction in a scientific society, and only recently reliable scientific data were obtained.
Depression and stress are directly related to nervous tension, which can be considered as the cause of the hyper tone of the masticatory muscles. People whose work is connected with constant tension and stress have a bad habit of “playing with nubs” and clenching their jaws under tension.Sometimes such actions are carried out unconsciously.
Gradually, the bad habit of clenching teeth and nervous tension develops into bruxism – the nighttime grinding of teeth. Bruxism is one of the most difficult pathologies, the treatment of which is carried out at once by several specialists: a neurologist, a psychologist and a dentist. Moreover, the latter share not only the treatment of bruxism itself, but also its consequences. It is dentists who develop an effective program for the prevention of undesirable effects.
Increased nervous tension and bruxism in a relatively short period of time lead to dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint. Initially, patients complain of feeling tired in the maxillofacial area, especially if their profession is connected with negotiations. After that, clicks in the joint join with the opening of the mouth, and then pain and other unpleasant sensations.
These are the results obtained by German scientists who conducted the study of dysfunction of the TMJ with the participation of more than four thousand people. To date, research continues, and experts are interested in the influence of catecholamines and serotonin on the work of the temporomandibular joint. It is known that their imbalance is observed just under stress and depression.
The researchers believe that the results obtained will allow us to find a new approach in the treatment of bruxism and joint dysfunction. Also, on the basis of the data obtained, it will be possible to develop an effective prophylactic program that will reduce the frequency of the disease.Scientists remind that depression can cause not only diseases of the maxillofacial region, but also other internal organs.