TMJ Treatment

Posture & Headaches

Posture throughout the body is affected by your jaw position and jaw function. The reason being, the jaw acts as a counter balance for the head over the spine. Improper head posture changes this balance, and then all the muscles of the back, and spine must work extra hard, leading to neck, shoulder, and back pain. Physiologic dentists examine the entire physiologic and anatomical system of the head and neck to evaluate the influence that a suboptimal jaw position may be having on the patients mouth and body.

One of the most common symptoms that physiologic dentists treat are headaches. This is because, a major cause of headaches and neck pain is the strain placed upon head and neck muscles due to improper jaw alignment. Unlike the use of pain medication, physiologic dentistry can be a drug-free solution to many headaches, including migraines, and unresolved aches and pains in other areas of the body as well.

Symptoms of TMD

Some of the most common symptoms of “Temporomandibular Joint Disorder” (TMD) or “Jaw misalignment” are:

  • Headaches
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Vertigo (dizziness)
  • Clogged or stuffy ears
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Tooth grinding and clenching
  • Pain and soreness in the jaw and face
  • Tightness and loss of range of motion in the jaw
  • Tooth pain with no dental cause found
  • Sinus pain and feeling of fullness
  • Clicking/popping noise in the jaw
  • Numbness in the hands and fingertips
  • Chiropractic problems that do not respond well to treatment

Often, patients suffering from some such symptoms, see numerous medical specialists in an effort to find answers, but are told there is no organic basis for their pain. Some resort to drugs to help them cope. In many cases, however, these patients have been misdiagnosed because their problem is dental, not medical.

Other times patients have no pain at all, but are concerned because they have been told that they grind their teeth in their sleep. These patients can see the severe amount of tooth wear, because their teeth are so much shorter than they used to be. In order to successfully treat these patients, it is important to restore them to optimal alignment and not the ‘suboptimal’ alignment that caused the tooth destruction in the first place.

As a team, we all have family members and friends who have benefitted from the knowledge and skills we’ve gained. We also feel it’s important for everyone to know about the medical-dental connection. If you, your family, or your friends, have any questions on this topic, please don’t hesitate to ask. We are very excited to share our knowledge and skills with you and those you care for.

Testing & Treatment

Physiologic dentists use computerized instrumentation to measure the patients jaw movements via Craniomandibular Scanning (CMS), Electromyography (EMG), and Joint Vibration Analysis (JVA). Ultra low frequency TENS is used to assist the dentist to locate the optimal jaw position. Throughout treatment, the same computerized instrumentation is used to monitor and assess the treatment progress. There are two distinct phases of treatment. The first being the wearing of a dental orthotic for 3-6 months to test drive the optimal jaw position and ensure the resolution of symptoms, before, starting phase 2.

The second phase involves choosing a way in which to enable the patient to continue permanently to function in this optimal jaw position. This varies depending on how worn down the teeth are and how far away from the optimal jaw position the patient was. The options include orthodontics, overlay partials, rehabilitation of the teeth or a combination of these treatments.

Physiologic Dentistry

In our office, the science of physiologic dentistry is used to treat Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD).

What is physiologic dentistry? Its about building the perfect bite. Physiologic dentistry considers the entire system that controls the positioning and function of your jaw. A physiologic dentist seeks to establish a jaw position based on a harmonious relationship of the three main factors affecting the bite - the teeth, muscles, and jaw joints. Physiologic dentistry is for you if you are contemplating dental procedures such as reconstruction, orthodontics, or dentures, because physiologic dentistry puts all the parts, (the teeth, joints and muscles) in the correct positions, to ensure optimal function, comfort and longevity.

It’s reassuring to test drive your new bite with a custom orthotic (positioner), before you do any reconstruction in porcelain or with dentures. This way you know you are comfortable and look great, before anything permanent is done!

The same is true of braces work (Orthodontics). You will be trying out the new bite position, before you start moving teeth. It just makes sense. You already know where your teeth work and look best, before you start permanent treatment.