TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint) Disorder
Do You Have?
- Frequent Headaches or Migraines
- Painful Jaw Joints
- Painful in the Face, Neck and Shoulders
- Face or Neck Pain
- Uncomfortable, Uneven or Painful Bite and Inability to Chew
- Chipped, Worn or Broken Teeth
- Grinding or Clenching
- Clicking or Popping Jaw
- Ringing Ears or Vertigo (dizziness)
- Difficulty Opening and Closing the Mouth
- Tingling Hands
The TMJ refers to your jaw joints, which are positioned in front of your ears and connect the lower jaw to the skull. There are many causes of TMD (TMJ Disorder), such as grinding and clenching of teeth, an injury, and emotional stress. However, the most common cause is a bad bite.
Findings published by the Academy of General Dentistry reveal about 75% of all headaches are caused by muscle tension, many of which are bite related. For this reason, Dr. Barbat has devoted many hours in continuing education in diagnosis and treatment for true sufferers of problems associated with the TMJ and bite misalignment.
A bite problem often exists when teeth are missing, misaligned, or worn down, preventing the upper teeth from fitting correctly with lower teeth. This forces the jaw to shift position and the muscles to work harder to bring the teeth together. And, when you are not chewing, your jaw muscles may not fully relax, even though they feel normal to you.
The constant strain on the muscles can pull the disc that cushions the jaw joint out of position. If this happens, the bones of the jaw joint can rub against each other, causing pain and damaging the joint.
Diagnosis and treatment
Millions suffer from TMD but don’t always associate their symptoms with TMD or receive necessary modern treatment. TMD affects more than twice as many women than men.
For an accurate diagnosis, we use advanced technology and skills to measure the function of your jaw muscles and the movement of each jaw joint. Depending on the situation, this technology may include:
Tomographs are specialized x-rays that give a detailed view of the jaw joint, allowing us to check the health and position of the bones of both joints.
Sonography or joint vibration analysis
The sonograph or joint vibration analysis equipment measures the sounds in your jaw joint as you open and close your mouth. These measurements help identify joint damage or other problems.
This measures tension in chewing muscles. When muscles are tense or strained, they give off tiny electrical currents.
To track jaw movements, a tiny magnet is placed just below the lower front teeth. A sensor records the movement of the magnet when you open and close your mouth and move the lower jaw side-to-side, forward and backward.
After diagnosis, treatment often begins with a TENS unit. This sends an ultra-low electrical frequency to stimulate muscles to induce a contraction of facial muscles. This causes the muscles to relax so the optimal resting point can be determined.
Very often, conservative treatment is sufficient for relieving stress on these joints. This may be in the form of a mouthpiece, which is custom-fitted for optimal comfort and does not interfere with sleep. Other adjustments may involve realignment of the bite with minor reshaping of specific teeth. In some cases, bite adjustments require restructuring through crowns.
If you have symptoms of TMJ Disorder, begin with a Complimentary Consultation with Dr. Barbat to discuss your situation and resolving your problems – for good!
Neuromuscular Dentistry – Ensuring Your Smile Has All the Right Moves!
In a properly-aligned bite, the teeth, jaw joints (TMJ) and muscles work together without strain or tension. The biting surfaces of upper and lower teeth fit together neatly while the jaw joints work in unison. When you chew or swallow, the muscles on both sides of the face contract evenly to bring the teeth together and relax during other times.
Bite and TMJ problems often occur when teeth are missing, misaligned or worn. In this situation, the muscles must use extra force and the jaw joints often shift position in order to bring the teeth together. And when you are not chewing, your jaw muscles may not fully relax, even though they feel normal to you.
Over time, this can cause the muscles and joints to become sore, tired, and stiff. A bad bite, together with tense, strained muscles, can lead to headaches, muscle pain, damage to the teeth or jaw joints, clicking and popping, ear ringing and more. It can also shorten the life of crowns, veneers, and other dental restorations through damage or excessive wear.
In treatment planning, Dr. Barbat uses advanced skills to identify problems in the muscles, jaw joints and bite. If problems exist, she’ll recommend appropriate measures to stabilize your bite. These may include wearing a custom bite splint (orthotic) or placing crowns on the affected teeth.
With modern techniques and technologies of neuromuscular dentistry, Dr. Barbat can help you achieve a healthier bite with more comfortable muscles and jaw joints. Click Here for a no-cost consultation.