Maxillo-mandibular Impingement (MMI, in Spanish CAT) and Temporal muscle Syndrome (TMS, in Spanish SMT) are functional pathologies of the mechanical / traumatic origin.

They are explained as the lack of space for the jaw and its muscles during masticatory movements, speech, swallowing or positions we adopt during the daily tasks. It may occur on one side or in both and the two pathologies may coexist and reach 20% of the population, both in children and adults.

This lack of space damages the trigeminal nerve branches (the mouth’s and head main nerve) catched between upper and lower jaw generating a chain of stimuli in the general trigeminal sensitivitiy and on the vegetative system giving rise to a series of symptoms that clearly affect patient’s life quality. There are also habits, gestures and postures that aggravate the compression of the nerve.

The most common symptoms are:

  • HEADACHES: migraines, tensional headaches
  • EAR: instability, dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus, hypo/hyperacusia, ear clogging or plugging,  itching, pain, burning ear
  • OCULAR: dry eye, epiphora, photophobia, distortion, difficulty in approach
  • MOTORS AND SENSITIVE: peripherical facial paralysis, ectropion, cervical contractions, sensory impairment of the face
  • NEUROVEGETATIVE: anxiety, depression, burning mouth syndrome, convulsions, retching. Moreover, any alteration of vegetative system induced by trigeminal nerve and its connections with other cranial nerves could be related to MMT or TMS.

Unfortunately, many patients go to medical specialists (neurologists, ENTs, traumathologists, physical therapists, psychologists, non-specialized dentists) who treat only the symptom by medication or splints without facing the cause that is in the mouth. By this way, patient issues becomes chronic without noticing any improvement on life’s quality  and they make the best of living with the problem and the drug’s side effects.

The diagnosis consists in carrying out an exhaustive clinical history of the patient, an examination of the mouth and the study of a panoramic x-ray and the photographs and models of patient’s mouth.

Treatment is personalized and basically it is based on balancing the bite and mandibular dynamics by Neuro-Occlusal Rehabilitation techniques (RNO in Spanish) and also avoiding the compression of the affected areas.

After treatment the patient will retrieve its life without relying on any medication.

If following your symptoms you think you may be suffering from MMI or TMS, book an appointment at Salut Dental Barcelona clicking here.

More about MMI and TMS (only available in Spanish):