Truths About Joint Injuries
No joint injury is ever cured. Orthopedic surgeons have never cured a joint injury. Non-surgical types of treatment also serve to restore joint function as much as possible. The decisions regarding treatment need to be based upon the injury and the least invasive level of management necessary to improve function. You don't require knee surgery if an occasional use of a knee brace provides a good functional level of management.
Joints can receive permanent injuries but still continue to function well for extended periods of time. We have all heard of someone having a "trick knee". That is a previously injured knee which functions well most of the time. They can have no real issues for 30 years, step off a curb wrong and go to surgery. The "trick knee" was injured for all 30 years but functioned until that last step that sends us to surgery. Such is the world of joint injuries.
All TMJ injuries are traumatic, either micro traumatic in nature or macro traumatic in nature. Micro traumatic occurs as a result in skeletal growth and development issues which require the joint to hyperextend to function. This can also occur with the loss of posterior teeth, inappropriate replacement of teeth, or the combination of both. Again, this results in chronic hyperextension of the TMJ. Macro trauma results from blows to the face, which can occur in whiplash, MVA's, airbag deployment, etc. These injuries again can remain functional for extended periods of time.
Stress or stressful times can increase the symptoms of a TMJ injury; however they do not cause such an injury.
Dysfunctional joints cause muscle dysfunction in the muscles associated with that joint motion. Dysfunctional muscles do not cause joint injuries.
Please schedule an appointment with Dr. DiStefano to discuss your concerns and care plan. As one of the premiere family dentists in Howell, Michigan, Dr. DiStefano has over 30 years experience caring for his patients’ health. He strives to educate his patients and improve their lives through dental care and disease prevention.