TMJ Problems

As described in a recent post, dental conditions are often hidden and painful. The following posts are going to help describe conditions that pets can get as well as treatment. Many people I talk with are surprised how we can help pets with dental conditions and save teeth whenever possible.

Temporal mandibular joint problems occur more frequently in pets than originally thought. Pets with only arthritis of the TM joint showed signs of issues less than half of the time, illustrating this is another hidden painful dental problem in pets. Feline patients with trauma are more likely to have TMJ involvement. 1.6 to 2 times more problems were found in dogs and cats with trauma when using CT to image the entire skull instead of two-dimensional radiographs.

In cases of trauma or difficulty opening/closing the mouth – it is necessary to have three-dimensional imaging to best evaluate the TMJ. 3D scans during all types of dental procedures may yield additional findings, decrease the duration of the procedure, and have significantly lower radiation.

For patients with TMJ problems, there are varied surgeries to treat the separate causes of the dysfunction. Not all TMJ problems require surgery to correct the problem either. The chronic pain from TMJ disorders is known to increase pain sensitivity to remote areas of the mouth. One must always be cautious of TMJ injury as months to years later the changes during the body’s attempt to heal the area may actual result in adverse effects.

For patients with oral tumors requiring resection of part or all of a mandible, the altered forces are more likely to cause TMJ issues of the functioning mandible (lower jaw). Elastic training of the muscles using orthodontics has been shown to help at least half of the patients as results are dependent on patient and owner participation with elastic training.

Contact us to learn more about TMJ problems in pets for your pet!