Problems in the masticatory system
The masticatory system refers to the jaw joints, masticatory muscles, teeth and closely related tissues. The most common pain conditions and functional disorders of the masticatory system include jaw joint noises, pain in the jaw joints or masticatory muscles, limited ability to open the mouth and movement disorders of the lower jaw. Other symptoms include headache, facial pain and ear pain. Problems in the masticatory system are often mild and do not always require treatment.
4.5% of university students have weekly or daily masticatory problems, and these problems are more common in women than in men (University Students’ Health Survey 2012).
The problems can be classified as muscular or joint-related or a combination of these.
The diagnosis is based on assessment of the symptoms and careful clinical examination, which can be complemented with imaging and other examinations if necessary.
Due to the complexity of the problems, treatment often requires multidisciplinary collaboration.