Do you suffer from symptoms such as migraines, jaw pain, sinus problems, clicking jaw joints, earaches, ringing in the ears, dizziness, or teeth grinding and clenching?
Temporomandibular joint disorder (also known as TMJ or TMD) affects 75 million people at various ages. It is a chronic degenerative disease that may take years to develop and can lead to debilitating consequences if left untreated. People who suffer from TMD have a structural imbalance in their jaw-to-skull relationship, very often caused by a misaligned bite. A bad bite can place excessive pressure on the muscles and tissues around the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), thereby affecting the joint’s function. As the jaw twists into a strained, uncomfortable position, it affects the muscles in the face, back, neck, and shoulders.
The Center for Contemporary Dentistry expands its reach beyond your teeth and oral health to your total health. Advances in the science of comprehensive dentistry have taught us how to bring the jaw into a relaxed position to help alleviate years of head pain and other types of discomfort. Relief from TMD pain may be closer than you think!
Because TMD can cause such a broad range of symptoms, it is often misdiagnosed as other conditions. That is why you must be aware of potential signs of this disorder and seek help from someone who is specifically trained to address it. Headaches, jaw pain, and jaw clicking are all common symptoms. However, you might also experience neck pain, hearing problems, or vertigo. If you suspect you are suffering from TMD, come to us. We will assess your jaw joint and create a customized treatment plan to relieve your discomfort.
“Occlusal adjustment” is a fancy way of saying that we can slightly modify your bite in order to relieve jaw tension. For example, we might remove a sliver of enamel from a tooth that is too tall, or we might build up a tooth, so it is a little bigger. The objective is to make sure the teeth fit together well and do not place excess stress on your temporomandibular joint when you are eating, speaking, and rest.
An occlusal splint is a custom-made device that resembles a mouthguard that you would wear for sports. The splint gently moves the jaw and trains it to rest in its proper position so the TMJ joint is exposed to as little stress as possible. We adjust the splint over a series of several visits as your jaw adapts to its new positioning. Eventually (usually after two or three months), you will be able to stop using the splint altogether.
TENS is an acronym that stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Basically, TENS uses low-level electrical currents to promote muscle relaxation throughout the face and jaw. Many patients say that it produces a soft, tingling sensation. It also encourages the release of endorphins that aid in pain relief. Although TENS cannot “cure” TMD, it can quickly reduce your discomfort and play and important role in your overall plan to find long-term relief from your disorder.
Neuromuscular dentistry is a modern, proven science that determines the relaxed position of the muscles of the head and neck. It uses a variety of treatment options to guide the jaw into its optimal position. You may be a candidate for neuromuscular dentistry if you experience any of the following symptoms on a regular basis:
Traditional dentistry assumes that your current bite is right for you. Often this is not the case. Dr. Patel follows a neuromuscular “whole body” approach to treating head and neck pain. Rather than relying on a bad-bite jaw position, Dr. Patel uses sophisticated computerized technology to study the pattern of your jaw movements. These non-invasive tests help to determine the optimal jaw position in order to sustain structural health and alleviate pain and discomfort.