The most important components of the jaw are the jaw joint, the teeth, and the chewing muscles.
More about jaw physiotherapy
The most common symptoms of jaw- or facial problems are:
- Pain or tiredness in the chewing muscles
- Trouble with opening one’s mouth
- Pain in or around the jaw joints (in front of the ears)
- Snapping or creaking jaw joints
- Overly sensitive or painful teeth
- Abnormal erosion of the teeth
- Ear pain
- Neck pain
If you recognise one or more of these symptoms, there is a chance that you are suffering from facial problems. Around 21% of the Dutch populace sometimes suffers from facial problems; only 2-3% seeks help.
Origins of jaw pain
Jaw problems can develop due to overpressure on the jaw muscles. This can happen because of shutting one’s teeth too tightly, grinding one’s teeth, nail-biting, lip-biting, cheek-biting, excessive gum-chewing, or pushing one’s tongue against the teeth or palate. Stress can also play a role in overpressure on the jaw muscles. Think of the expression ’to grit one’s teeth’, for example. Jaw problems can also arise from problems in the jaw joint. The jaw joint contains a cartilage disc (or discus) which can move out of its original position (also producing noises), blocking the joint. This can lead to a limited mouth-opening capacity. Furthermore, jaw problems can also be caused by problems with the teeth. The teeth may erode because of teeth-grinding, or one might simply be suffering from a toothache.
The craniofacial therapist
The Craniofacial (jaw physiotherapist) is a physiotherapist who has completed a post-academical education (or a course) which has been recognised by, among others, the KNGF and NVMT, the official Dutch organisations for physiotherapy and manual therapy. The craniofacial therapist is specialised in diagnosing and treating afflictions to the head and neck, as well as facial pains and effects thereof. They will analyse your affliction on the basis of thorough research. In the case of a jaw problem, such as teeth-grinding or jaw pain, the therapist can personally treat you. If you have a different affliction, the craniofacial therapist will immediately refer you to an expert with which they cooperate.
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