TMJ Treatment & Neuromuscular Dentistry
What is TMJ disorder?
TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is a painful condition in which the temporomandibular joint, the main joint in the mouth, is overworked or misaligned. It can lead to headaches, oral and neck pain, and difficulty opening and closing the mouth. Many patients describe an audible popping or clicking sound when yawning or chewing. Unfortunately, these symptoms are often mistaken for stress or something else other than a bad bite!
If you’re experiencing jaw and tooth pain, facial pain, ear pain and congestion, headaches, or neck, shoulder and back pain, you could have TMJ. TMJ can also cause numbness in the arms, hands, and fingers, along with clicking, popping or locking of the jaw. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact Dr. Frey today.
See How Neuromuscular Dentistry Relieved Jon from TMJ Disorder
TMJ specialist Dr. Frey is a leading expert in neuromuscular dentistry and has treated hundreds of patients with persistent pain from TMJ disorder. Neuromuscular dentistry emphasizes the importance of the position of the jaw, teeth, and surrounding tissues.
TMJ treatment is divided into two phases: Phase 1 is curing the symptoms of TMJ disorder, and Phase 2 is preserving the results of the treatment permanently with restorative, or orthodontic procedures. Phase 2 can also involve permanent splint therapy, bite adjustments and doing nothing.
- PHASE ONE: In phase one, a TENS machine (see below) is used to locate your jaw’s most relaxed natural position. We call this the “physiological resting position.” This machine will de-program overworked jaw muscles with tiny, relaxing electrical impulses. We can also de-compress the joint using other exercises. We prove that the jaw muscles are relaxed by evaluating EMG (electromyography data – see below) which is like looking at a Richter Scale measuring an earthquake. We then capture this position with high-quality molding material, and realign your bite into the optimal, relaxed, position.
You will then wear a custom shaped orthotic to rehabilitate the jaw muscles. Don’t worry, the orthotic rests atop your existing teeth and looks perfectly natural. It will not alter your speech, and no one will notice you’re wearing it. Almost immediately, and more so as your muscles acclimate, you will notice that headaches, back and neck pain, ringing in the ears, vertigo, and many other symptoms associated with TMJ will disappear.
- PHASE TWO: Phase two of the treatment begins once you’re completely comfortable with your new bite. In order to sustain the results of your TMJ treatment, Dr. Frey may recommend additional cosmetic dental procedures as part of a full-mouth rehabilitation plan or orthodontics depending on your personal situation. There are many options to choose from once your TMJ symptoms have vanished.
Watch as Dr. Frey Discusses TMJ Treatment
TMJ can be caused by a number of issues. Some of these include:
- Unbalanced bite
- Airway issues
- Skull deformation
- Injury or trauma
- Unbalanced dentistry
Dangers of Untreated TMJ
Since TMJ disorder is easily aggravated by many normal daily tasks, it can be difficult to avoid. Anyone who suffers from TMJ syndrome should seek treatment. Failure to do so may have serious lifelong consequences.
- Other medical conditions: TMJ can lead to other medical conditions. Most sufferers of TMJ will attempt to alleviate their pain through self medication. Over time, this can lead to addiction. Many TMJ sufferers fall prey to alcoholism and drug abuse if left untreated by a doctor. Constant pain from TMJ, combined with grinding teeth can lead to sleep disturbance and insomnia as well. TMJ symptoms may also contribute to depression, which can negatively impact job performance, relationships, and quality of life. Not treating your TMJ could also lead to malnutrition and possibly eating disorders. This is because some patients try avoiding the problem by only consuming soft foods, liquids, or not eating at all. No one should have to suffer with these other medical conditions since TMJ can be treated permanently through safe, nonsurgical treatment.
- Dental health: Putting off TMJ treatment can lead to additional dental health issues. The grinding and clenching of teeth can lead to fractured teeth and worn down enamel. Sufferers of TMJ tend to favor one side of the jaw over the other which can cause swelling on one side of the face and unsymmetrical muscle growth. This can give the patient a lopsided appearance.
- Tinnitus and jaw problems: Since the joint is located directly beneath the ears, TMJ disorder may lead to tinnitus or even permanently compromised hearing. Inner ear problems can also cause difficulties with balance and cause vertigo, or recurring dizziness. Vision may also be compromised. TMJ can also lead to serious jaw problems, such as locked jaw. The jaw may become permanently stuck open, requiring a trip to the hospital. The breakdown of the cartilage in the jaw can also result in the dislocation of the jaw.
Jaw tracking instrument
Sensors in this jaw tracker will allow us to see the teeth without the cheeks getting in the way (worn once in order for Dr. Frey to obtain data). It is an unobstructed view inside your mouth. Perfect for us to capture your bite in the correct physiological position.
What is A TENS Machine?
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS or TNS) is a device that will send an electrical impulse to the nerve that innervates all the muscles of the TMJ. We use this machine to relax the jaw muscles (low earthquakes on the Richter scale). We use the TENS to buzz all the tension out of the muscles before we capture your physiological correct bite position.
what is Electromyography (EMG)?
Getting the EMG data as low as possible is the key to getting you out of pain! Low EMG’s tells us that you are relaxed and in a healthy position. Using TENS machine and other exercises to decompress the jaw joint will help get these muscles as calm as possible.
Migraine and Neck Pain Relief
schedule a consultation
If you are suffering from jaw pain then you might have TMJ. Call (310) 276-4537 to schedule a consultation with Beverly Hills TMJ Dentist, Dr. Frey.