Looking into your TMJ treatment options? Choosing a TMJ specialist helps ensure those who are diagnosed with this jaw-related disorder received the right type of treatment. Ready to learn more?Understanding what TMJ is, as well as how it is treated, is necessary for those who have been diagnosed with this disorder. TMJ is a condition…
How Neuromuscular Dentistry Is Used to Treat TMJ
Neuromuscular dentistry deals with the study of structures surrounding the placement and functions of the jaw. The primary focus is to treat and subsequently correct temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder and associated problems. This field of dentistry is advanced, effective for alleviating pain, and works by assessing and measuring muscle function and how it relates to correct jaw movement and jaw position.
Overview of TMJ disorder
TMJ disorder is a term for different forms of physical issues that occur when the TMJ moves out of alignment. The TMJ is the hinge joint that links the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull, located right in front of the ear on both sides of the head. This joint is complex yet flexible and enables the jaw to perform different functions such as talking, yawning, eating, and breathing. The muscles that are connected to and surround the jaw joint control the placement and movement of the jaw.
A disorder of the TMJ puts excess pressure on the joints and causes chronic facial pain (including the jaw, jaw joints, and facial muscles) that makes jaw movement uncomfortable or difficult. Some of the symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Severe headache
- Bite changes
- Locked jaw
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- Pain around the jaw, ear, and face
- Pain or spasms in the neck and shoulder muscles
Neuromuscular dentistry and TMJ treatment
Neuromuscular dentistry focuses on bringing together the knowledge of the mouth, gums, teeth, jaws, oral, and facial tissues to treat a complicated condition like TMJ. A dentist that specializes in this treatment approach can determine the cause of the problem and recommend an appropriate solution (to correct bite and jaw alignment issues) that removes the need for surgery or invasive treatment.
Treatment approaches include steps to align the bite, use orthotics, orthodontics and teeth repositioning. The dentist may use advanced computer analysis and transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) to determine the optimal position of the jaw, design treatment, and gradually eliminate the TMD symptoms.
The TENS induces muscle relaxation, which allows the dentist to measure the electrical activity and set the proper position of the jaw’s alignment to the skull. By using electromyography (EMG), the dentist can precisely determine the level of muscle stress and find the optimal bite position. In some cases, sonography may be used to find any clicking or popping sound that may signal muscular misalignment or degenerative joints. A combination of non-invasive therapies can help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorder.
A dentist can fabricate a dental appliance that works by permanently improving the underlying structures of the air passages. The appliance widens the nasal passages and the upper arch, which consequently shifts the lower dental arch into the proper position. The device relieves symptoms of TMJ disorder, reshapes the jawbone to enhance airflow and helps eliminate the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Do you suffer from TMJ disorder?
Neuromuscular dentistry is highly effective for treating TMJ disorder. If you are experiencing symptoms of this condition, contact our office today for an appointment.
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