Meaning of CMD

According to abbreviationfinder, CMD stands for “craniomandibular dysfunction”, the spelling “craniomandibular dysfunction” is also common. In general, it is a dysfunction of the masticatory system, more precisely a dysfunction of the temporomandibular joints. Even if many people have CMD findings, treatment is only necessary in a few cases.

  • The CMD (craniomandibular dysfunction) is a dysregulation of the chewing apparatus, especially the temporomandibular joints.
  • The malfunction can lead to a wide variety of symptoms, such as headache and neck pain, difficulty chewing, dizziness and teeth grinding.
  • The most common causes of craniomandibular dysfunction include changes in the teeth, trauma, and psychosocial factors such as stress.
  • If treatment is started early, there is a good chance that symptoms will go away completely.

Definition: what is a CMD?

Craniomandibular dysfunction is a dysregulation between the skull, jaw joints and masticatory muscles. This connection is already clear from the Latin terms “cranio” (skull) and “mandibula” (lower jaw), from which “craniomandibular” is composed. Structural, functional, biochemical and psychological factors are possible causes.

A CMD can express itself with different symptoms, the severity of which varies from person to person. Some patients hardly notice the symptoms at all. In many cases, the chewing apparatus succeeds in adapting to pathological changes so that there are hardly any symptoms. However, this only works to a certain extent. On the other hand, other sufferers experience a significant reduction in their quality of life as a result of the symptoms.

The symptoms of a CMD

Craniomandibular dysfunction can cause many different symptoms; there is no uniform clinical picture. The diagnosis is often problematic, as the symptoms often do not develop or only develop at the place of origin – on the head and jaw – but also in completely different parts of the body. The following list shows examples of which symptoms may occur:

  • Teeth: grinding, sensitive gums, difficulty chewing
  • Jaw and temporomandibular joints: rubbing / cracking in the joints, temporomandibular joint pain, problems opening / closing the mouth
  • Head: headache, eye pressure, visual disturbances, dizziness
  • Throat area: speech disorders, difficulty swallowing, sore throat
  • Body: tiredness, neck tension, CMD-related back pain
  • Psyche: inner restlessness, sleep problems, fluctuating mood

Diagnosis: How is CMD diagnosed?

Craniomandibular dysfunction is often difficult to diagnose due to the wide range of symptoms; the treating physician must have in-depth interdisciplinary knowledge. Usually the dentist will perform the examination and also the treatment. However, since the complaints can arise in different places, he is not always the first point of contact. After recording the medical history (anamnesis) and taking an X-ray, doctors use two methods to diagnose CMD:

  • Clinical functional analysis: Classic medical examination with a description of the medical history
  • Instrumental functional analysis: plaster model of the dentition and subsequent examination of the jaw position with electronic measuring systems.

Self-tests for CMD

There are various CMD tests on the Internet for an initial self-diagnosis. However, these are only partially meaningful and can in no way replace a detailed investigation. Therefore, you should take appropriate tests as an indication that you should consult a doctor as soon as possible.

What are the causes of a CMD?

Craniomandibular dysfunction is usually based on a shift in the contact points of the upper and lower teeth. In other words: when the mouth is closed, the two jaws are not in their natural or optimal position to one another. This imbalance leads to an incorrect load that changes the movement of the lower jaw in the long term. The most common causes of such a misalignment include:

  • Changes in the dentition, for example due to missing teeth or incorrectly fitted tooth fillings
  • Trauma to the cervical spine or the temporomandibular joints, for example from a fall or a traffic accident
  • Head and neck surgery
  • Wrong posture
  • Bad posture
  • Constant chewing on fingernails

In many cases, the CMD can also be traced back to psychosocial components such as stress, anxiety or depression . These can lead to sleep disorders as well as tension and / or bruxism (grinding of teeth) .

Treatment of a CMD

In many cases, craniomandibular dysfunction can be completely cured; However, the prerequisite for this is an early start of treatment. Since the malfunction tends to get worse without treatment, the chances of recovery deteriorate over time. In addition, CMD can recur if only the symptoms but not the cause have been eliminated.

In most cases, an interdisciplinary treatment approach is recommended, whereby the doctors working together should work towards a tailor-made therapy. The dentist, for example, takes care of correcting errors in the teeth. An accompanying physiotherapy, in which the patient learns to better coordinate the movements of the mouth opening, is particularly promising. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, it may also be advisable to consult one of the following specialists:

  • Orthopedist
  • Orthodontist
  • Speech therapist
  • Psychotherapist
  • ENT specialist
  • Neurologist
  • Internist
  • Homoeopath

The bite splint is often the most effective immediate and permanent solution

As part of a CMD therapy, the patient usually receives a so-called bite splint, also known as a stabilization splint or relaxation splint. It provides short-term relief for the temporomandibular joints, which alleviates the symptoms and counteracts the aggravation of existing signs of wear and tear. In the long term, it serves to completely restore the function of the masticatory system. Depending on the severity of the craniomandibular dysfunction, the patient wears the splint either only at night, only during the day or around the clock.

Other forms of therapy

Depending on the symptoms, other forms of treatment are possible, for example acupuncture ( for restricted movement of muscles and joints), physical measures such as red light or cold applications. If stress is the trigger, relaxation methods such as autogenic training or yoga are ideal.

Does health insurance cover the CMD treatment costs?

The statutory health insurances only bear the costs of the splint therapy and the associated physiotherapy – if at all. Statutory health insurance, on the other hand, does not take on interdisciplinary treatment approaches. It is different with privately insured persons, they can often expect reimbursement of costs.

CMD (craniomandibular dysfunction)