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The Articulatory System

Examination: Joints

The Articulatory System

Diagnosis of Temporomandibular disorders requires an understanding and examination of the articulatory system. The Articulatory System is comprised of three components: the temporomandibular joints, the muscles of mastication and the occlusion (the nature contact between the upper and lower teeth). Or to use an engineering analogy, the hinges, the motors and the contacts.

Their is such an intrinsic interdependence between the 3 components of the Articulatory System, that any change in one is almost certain to effect one or more of the others. Any dentistry performed on the teeth has the ability to effect the occlusion, and so in turn, effect the muscles and/or TMJs.

Examining the Articulatory System

Examination of the articulatory system should include

Range of movement
TMJ tenderness
TMJ sounds
TMJ locking
Radiographs
Muscle tenderness
Signs of bruxism
Headache experience
Occlusion