TMJ Treatment

Dental treatment can help to resolve TMJ pain

header-image-tmj-treatmentNeuromuscular dentistry can realign your bite and resolve your TMJ / TMD symptoms. To put it simply, neuromuscular dentistry places the jaw into its optimal position, relieving the symptoms associated with TMJ.

While traditional dentistry evaluates primarily the teeth, bones, and gums, neuromuscular dentistry works with the hard tissues (bones and teeth) and the soft tissues (muscles and nerves). Neuromuscular dentists understand that your hard and soft tissues have a complex relationship, and work to make that relationship a harmonious one.

Neuromuscular dentistry follows the principle that the power source (muscles), and the controls (nerves) need to be included in TMJ diagnosis and treatment as they create the movement, pressures, and function of the mouth.

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It starts with a diagnosis

State-of-the-art technology is used to determine if your symptoms are caused by malocclusion and what your optimal jaw position is.

  • K-7 computerized tracking measures and records the posture, range of motion, movement patterns of your jaw.
  • Electromyography is used to measure your jaw’s muscle activity in its stressed and relaxed positions, and will also measure if there is a structural imbalance with your jaw and skull.
  • Sonography is used to record jaw joint sounds.
  • Tekscan sensors measure the pressure and force of your bite
  • X-rays of the jaw help us evaluate the condition and positioning of the jaw joint.

What’s involved in TMJ treatment?

Once you have had a consultation to determine if you are a candidate for neuromuscular treatment, there are three phases of treatment:

The immediate concern is to provide relief of your symptoms using a technology called ULF-TENS. ULF-TENS stands for Ultra Low Frequency Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation. TENSing is a way to gently massage and relax muscles by increasing blood flow and pumping out waste products.ULF-TENS also helps with pain relief by stimulating the body’s production of endorphins, the body’s natural anesthetic.
During this phase, a removable orthotic is worn over the lower teeth. The orthotic allows your neuromuscular dentist to make easy adjustments to the plastic without adjusting the teeth until the bite is stabilized. Once symptoms are relieved and the bite has been stabilized, your dentist will move on to the next step, and adjust your bite to the correct position for the longer term.
There are a variety of ways to correct your bite. Four of the most common of these approaches are outlined below:

  • Equilibration: With this treatment your bite is stabilized by smoothing and reshaping the enamel of the teeth to correct your bite. It is a simple procedure that does not require anesthesia and is used when the bite is only slightly misaligned.
  • Removable Orthotic: Sometimes all that is needed to relieve symptoms and stabilize the bite is to use a removable orthotic. It fits over the lower teeth and is designed to maintain an aligned bite.
  • Reconstruction: This approach involves placing a fixed orthotic to maintain the ideal bite and to allow the muscles to adapt. Once you are comfortable in your optimal bite position, porcelain restorations are used to position your teeth and jaws in their ideal rest position. This realigns your bite and provides structural support for your jaw.
  • Neuromuscular Orthodontics: Healthy teeth can be moved into an optimal position by orthodontic movement.

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Which TMJ treatment is best for you?

As with most medical and dental treatment, a diagnosis of the cause of the problem is a critical first step. By measuring you jaw joint’s function and structure, your jaw muscle activity, and the sounds your jaw makes as it moves, a neuromuscular dentist can determine the best course of treatment.

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