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TMD/TMJ TREATMENT

BARRIE

Balance between your teeth, muscles and jaw joints is important to your overall well-being. When dysfunction occurs, you can experience a chain of events that lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). The terms TMD and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) are often used interchangeably to describe a bad bite (malocclusion) or jaw misalignment.

When a patient presents with headaches or facial pain, Dr. Chapnick does an examination and a series of tests to rule in or out your joints, teeth or facial muscles as a source of your distress. Testing for sleep apnea is often considered because of the high correlation with TMJ issues. If therapy is needed, Dr. Chapnick most often treats TMD by first identifying your optimal jaw position and then devising a unique treatment plan to keep your jaw in alignment.

tmj treatment of tooth pain

Causes of TMD

Your TMJ unites your lower jaw with your skull. The surrounding muscles allow you to move your jaw up, down, sideways and around. Soft disks of cartilage between the ball and socket portion of the joint allow you to open your mouth smoothly to speak, yawn and eat.

There is no singular cause of TMD, which is why it can be difficult to diagnose. Some common causes of TMD include:

  • Jaw muscle fatigue caused by abnormal function, grinding, or clenching
  • Trauma to the jaw joints or other muscles in the neck or head
  • Cartilage or disk erosion in the jaw joints
  • Misalignment of your jaw, resulting in a crossbite, overbite or underbite
  • Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Night time jaw movements related to sleep apnea

Dr. Chapnick and his team use neuromuscular dentistry technology to help identify jaw misalignment, including:

  • Digital X-rays
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit
  • K7 Evaluation System: sonography, electromyography and mandibular screening
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Symptoms of tmj/tmd

Symptoms of TMD

TMD can range from mild to severely debilitating, and include:

  • Jaw problems – popping, clicking or grinding sounds; stiffness; lock jaw
  • Ear problems – pain, ringing (tinnitus), fullness, difficulty hearing
  • Face problems – pain, tiredness, swelling
  • Head problems – dizziness, migraine-like TMJ headaches
  • Body problems – pain in the neck or shoulders

You can experience some of these symptoms with or without actually having TMD/TMJ.  You could have a transient pain or pathology that requires follow up with a medical specialist.   It is important to rule in or out your jaw and facial muscles as the source of your pain.  A Dentist with training beyond dental school, like Dr. Adam Chapnick, is prepared for that assessment.

Treatment Options for TMD/TMJ

The goal of a TMD/TMJ treatment plan is to keep your jaw aligned and muscles pain free. Ultimately the cause of your pathology and the result you want to achieve will provoke the best therapy.  To meet this goal, Dr. Chapnick may initially fabricate a custom oral appliance to test and confirm the jaw posture that will best resolve symptoms and provide function.  For permanent results, some situations provoke changing the shape of your teeth.  Some patients prefer using Invisalign® or other orthodontic techniques to improve alignment.  Botox may be another option preferable to some patients.  The final decision will always be a collaboration with you and our well educated team. For patients with missing teeth, jaw support can be restored with dental implants or dental bridges. Surgery is rarely used as a treatment for TMD because it is invasive and proven to be ineffective.

If you have additional questions about TMJ disorder or would like to schedule a TMD evaluation with neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Adam Chapnick in Barrie or Toronto, please contact the experienced Molson Park Dental Office team.

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QUESTIONS ABOUT TMJ DISORDER

What is TMJ disorder

Temporomandibular joint disorder, also called TMD or TMJ, occurs when your jaw has moved out of alignment, which prohibits your jaw joints from working smoothly. You can feel your TMJ by placing your fingers in front of your ears on each side of your face. Your jaw joints are very complex mechanisms that allow you to open your mouth via ball and socket like joints that connect your jaw to your skull. When there is damage or misalignment in the TMJ, you can experience a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • Migraine-like TMD/TMJ headaches
  • Jaw joint pain or stiffness
  • Noises from your jaw joints, such as popping or clicking
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in your ears
Why does TMD/TMJ have so many different symptoms?

The areas around your jaw joints contain large nerves that branch off to the head,face, neck and shoulders. If your jaw muscles become irritated, they can begin to constrict some of the surrounding nerves. Any time a nerve is constricted your brain will register a certain degree of pain or discomfort.  When your jaw is misaligned it will often provoke misalignment of your head and neck which in turn can cause a cascade of descending body symptoms.

Often people will look to medical doctors for relief from the symptoms mentioned above without success because the cause of their pain is from TMJ disorder. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of TMJ, a neuromuscular dentist may have the answers to your pain.

Can any dentist diagnose and treat TMD/TMJ?

No. Dentists who are specially trained in neuromuscular dentistry, like Dr. Adam Chapnick, fully understand the complex relationship between the soft tissues, hard tissues, muscles and nerves of the TMJ. Dr. Chapnick and his team also have the tools to properly diagnose TMJ disorder and the training and experience in general and cosmetic dentistry procedures to correct dental problems and keep your jaw in proper alignment.

Why are biteguards used to treat TMD/TMJ?

Dr. Chapnick may recommend you wear an oral appliance at to prevent you from grinding or clenching your teeth. Teeth grinding (bruxism) is a common cause of TMJ, and many patients are unaware they have this habit until signs of tooth wear or sleep and TMJ symptoms are identified. Custom-made oral appliances will also keep your upper and lower arches in the ideal position for jaw alignment.

Oral appliances, such as splints or night guards, are different from mouthguards, which are used as protective and physical enhancement devices during contact sports.

If I think I have TMD/TMJ, what should I do?

If you feel TMJ disorder may be the root cause of your pain, contact neuromuscular dentist Dr. Chapnick to schedule a neuromuscular consultation. Dr. Chapnick will analyze the state of your jaw joints, including the sounds, movements and tenderness. He may take digital X-rays and implement the transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit and K7 Evaluation System (sonography, electromyography and mandibular screening) to properly diagnose your condition. From there he will be able to implement a unique treatment program for you.

To schedule your neuromuscular consultation with Dr. Adam Chapnick, please contact the Molson Park Dental Office team in Barrie or Toronto today.