TMJ: Great Advice
TMJ stands for the temperomandibular jaw joints. The acronym TMJ is very often incorrectly used to describe a disorder of these joints. However , the correct acronym of the disorder is TMD meaning temperomandibular disorders and when we include the many symptoms of head and jaw pain it is recognized as "craniomandibular disorders". Long term studies now prove that the following symptoms are linked to the incorrect alignment of the upper and lower jaws and changes in the integrity of the TMJ.
Neuromuscular Dentistry can help alleviate TMJ symptoms such as headaches, neck and shoulder pain, jaw pain, clicking or popping in the jaw, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). The majority of North Americans suffer from one or more of these symptoms, and unfortunately in many cases these patients’ symptoms are either misdiagnosed or dismissed as having no physiological cause. In a number of cases, these symptoms can actually be attributed to TMJ, also referred to as Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome. These terms are just different names for the same group of symptoms.
Neuromuscular Dentist may be able to help you with TMD treatments if you are suffering from any of the above symptoms or a number of other symptoms.
Benefits of Neuromuscular Dentistry 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 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 dentists understand the necessity for including the power source (muscles) and the controls (nerves) which create the movement, pressures, and function of the mouth.
When the jaw is misaligned, both the hard and soft tissues are affected and many physiological problems can result, such as headaches, jaw pain, neck and shoulder pain, tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, and clicking or popping sounds in the jaw joint. In a number of cases, these symptoms are the result of TMJ. TMJ / TMD is a chronic degenerative disease that often takes years to develop. TMJ affects millions of people. People who suffer from TMJ have an imbalance in the jaw-to-skull relationship, which is caused by a bad bite (malocclusion).
At our initial TMJ consultation, we make detailed notes of all the chronic symptoms you experience. Next, using the most sensitive cutting-edge technology, we record and interpret the sounds of both your left and right TMJ 's in motion with computerized electrosonography to objectively determine the pathologic nature and extent of joint sounds. In addition we measure the pre and post relaxation status of muscles with highly sensitive electromyography (EMG) that records the electrical activity of your facial and neck muscles. A computerized jaw scanner is used to track the spatial movement of your jaw as you open and close. TMJ x-rays show us any pathology that may or may not exist, changes to bone structure and the position the lower jaw is in with your skull. These measurements enable us to map out all your unique facial, bone, and muscle tissue functions. By determining where you are presently, we can then move on to the next step- finding the most relaxed position of your jaw.
Finding that most relaxed position from which your muscles will act most efficiently and comfortably is accomplished through the use of a TENS machine. Once it has been confirmed, our goal for the first stage of the TMJ treatment will be the maintenance of this position.
The second stage of TMJ treatment begins once your symptoms are diminished, and we are assured that our goal of establishing the most comfortable position has been accomplished. The goal of this stage is also to create a bite that will preserve the corrected alignment of the jaw so that jaw, muscles, and teeth can work together in harmony. Completion of the second stage will include decisions about future use of any guards, orthotics and/or orthodontics as well as the benefits of full-mouth rehabilitation. After choosing the direction of the TMJ treatment, we begin by creating a jaw position for the remainder of treatment. This can be accomplished in several ways; with a removable orthotic or a fixed orthotic; or can be achieved by moving the teeth through orthodontic treatment. Once the position has been stabilized we move to the second stage of TMJ treatment previously agreed upon.