TMJ Problems

By February 3, 2019Family Pet Veterinary Blog

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.

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