What is Myoarthropathy

Watch Dental Video about Myoarthropathy

The term “myoarthropathy of the chewing system” refers to a condition in which individuals suffer from discomfort in the chewing muscles and/or jaw joint.

Myoarthropathy is derived from the Greek words:

  • Mys: muscle
  • Arthron: joint and
  • Pathos: suffering

Unfortunately, the term “cranio-mandibular dysfunction” is still frequently used (abbreviated CMD) for jaw, jaw joint and facial pain. This term is unclear because it is undefined. There will be more about this in the video entitled "CMD". In the medical field, it is common for two diagnoses to exist for the exact same disease. This mirrors medical developments, which have shifted from a purely subjective to evidence-based therapy.

The term MAP is clearly defined. The patient is treated for exactly what he is suffering from, whether it be pain and/or a limited functionality, such as reduced mouth opening ability. In other words, doctors who use the term MPA for pain in the jaw, jaw joint and facial area support the opinion that many symptoms, such as jaw joint crackling, reduced life-long mouth opening ability, jaw deviation during mouth opening (deflexion) and many more conditions, simply represent normal variations so long as the patient does not experience any discomfort or pain. In such cases, treatment is not necessary.

Grafik eines Kopfes mit Kiefergelenkschmerzen, Myoarthropathie genannt


By contrast, doctors who use the term CMD frequently treat symptoms but not the actual causes of these symptoms, and treatment often consists of inconsistent therapy concepts. The graphic in the film "Myoarthropathy" should help explain the above descriptions.  The diagnostic and treatment indicators are first and foremost determined by the patient rather than by the treating professional in MAP.

The term “myoarthropathy” sums up muscle and jaw joint problems as well as combinations thereof. Therefore, the doctor has to differentiate between these three options and initiate the appropriate treatment for patients suffering from pain and/or suddenly occurring limited mouth opening ability. Through special questionnaires and clinical examinations, the doctor can easily pinpoint the correct diagnosis.

The questionnaires help the doctor differentiate between depressions, non-specific physical symptoms, bite problems and chewing muscle issues. Picture-oriented examinations, such as an MRI, are seldom necessary. However, these are unfortunately still frequently needlessly performed. Treatment depends on the respective diagnosis. However, one principle should always be considered: Since our jaw joint is very adaptable, any irreversible measures, such as the production of a new denture, should be avoided in MAP therapy.

For example, during the acute phase of jaw joint pain, a so-called Michigan splint is completely sufficient because the body is capable of regulating many changes in the chewing apparatus on its own. These restructuring processes only take a little bit of time and a splint can help to bridge that time span.

Click here to see the video: Myoarthopathy


This post is also available in: German

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