Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, more often referred to as TMJ, is a condition which causes chronic or acute inflammation of the temporomandibular joint. This joint connects the mandible to the skull, and unbalanced muscles often cause much pain and discomfort. The inflammation can result in significant impairment and pain. Examples of issues caused by TMJ are migraines, tooth wear and grinding as well as limitations to chewing. The instances of pain in both jaws and face can be almost unbearable.
Very few medical professionals have experience with this complex disorder. Plano, Texas dentist Dr. Jacob Grapevine has special training and experience working with patients suffering from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, commonly known as TMJ. Dr. Grapevine completed postgraduate training to be able to diagnose and treat TMJ dysfunction.
Advanced Technology & TMJ Treatment
TMJ issues can be very complex and create limitations in the quality of life. Arriving at a proper diagnosis is critical for the success of treatment and relief of symptoms, Dr. Grapevine uses advanced technology as part of a comprehensive approach to both analysis and treatment with the goal of a long term result that addresses the underlying issue affecting the function of the bite.
The treatment approach for TMJ disorders varies between the fields of both neuropathy and dentistry. While analgesic pain relief is often prescribed for those suffering from this disorder, often times the pain is more neurologic in cause and nature. As a result, pain relievers often do not provide an adequate effect. Another approach to pain management involves the use of tricyclic antidepressants such as Amitriptyline or Nortriptyline to provide pain modification. This approach proves to be more effective for those not searching for long term treatment.
TekScan: An evaluation of your TMJ joint using digital scanning technology is performed as part of the new patient comprehensive evaluation or as needed for existing clients. If a problem is discovered, options for treatment or management will be discussed. The intent is to keep your TMJ healthy as this is one joint none of us can live without.
A thorough and complete examination of the TMJ joints and bite along with some of the latest digital technology for analysis if necessary, such as Cone Beam Computerized Tomography (CBCT), are used to analyze your bite and joint.
Once a diagnosis is achieved, we will recommend the most conservative approach to solve your problem. This can range from a small correction to the bite, a guard, or more involved and complex cases can require precise and expert treatment to identify, correct, and maintain the issues causing stress to the joints.
Mouthguard/Night guard: For many patients, the use of a custom mouthguard to stop teeth grinding can provide symptom relief and prevent further damage to the teeth and gums. Dr. Grapevine will evaluate all aspects of your occlusal system (this includes teeth, gums, and jaw joints) to identify the underlying cause of your bite problem and recommend appropriate treatment options. Most new patients tell us that if they were given a guard by another dental office, they could not wear it due to discomfort. How we approach guard therapy is different than most offices and our patients who have been through guard therapy in our office tell us they cannot sleep without it. It is all about the technique, follow up, the proper type of adjustments. You should see improvements and can expect your guard to last for several years.
Orthotics for TMJ: Dr. Grapevine is one of few Dallas area dentists using an orthotic approach to addressing a diagnosed bite disorder. An orthotic for TMJ is a special orthopedic appliance that is designed to correct an underlying orthopedic problem impacting the jaw and bite. It will help your jaw to rest in a natural position, one that does not stress the joints or muscles and cause common symptoms of TMJ. Over time, an orthotic can facilitate physiologic changes in the fit of the bite for a long term resolution.
Performing a thorough examination of the temporomandibular joints is recommended before commencing with further treatment in order to analyze the patient’s bite and joint. A less invasive treatment type might be bio-feedback. Using a headband for this type of therapy allows treatment during sleep while para-functional jaw habits are modified. Other treatments that involve an investment of time for results include:
- Occlusal Adjustment or Tooth Grinding – not usually recommended due to irreversible effects
- Mandibular Repositioning Splints
- Reconstructive Surgery
- Hypnotherapy – Used for pain management
Some treatments involve the elimination of para-functional habits through examining patient histories, which reveal much about symptoms and their causes. Jaw stretching and relaxation exercises, suggested by health care providers, can be done at home.
Surgery is sometimes indicated for TMJ, but usually only as a last resort. With more treatments coming to the fore that are less invasive, the use of MRIs or CAT scans is not as prevalent as it was in past years. TMJ has become a very treatable condition that no longer involves chronic pain in most patients.
What is Causing My Jaw Pain?
When your teeth do not fit together correctly and/or your jaw joints – (TMJ joints) – do not work properly, pain, pressure, and limitations to chewing can occur. Some issues that can occur are:
- Migraine headaches
- Frequent headaches
- Unexplained facial, neck, shoulder or jaw pain
- Popping and clicking of the TMJ joints
Also, tooth wear, teeth grinding, and chronic earaches can be caused by an incorrect bite or TMJ problems.
How will I know if I need TMJ treatment?
Dr. Grapevine will evaluate your smile and help you determine if you require treatment or not. Additionally, our office offers unique tests that are simple and easy to determine if a patient is clenching/grinding at night as well as during the daytime. Before investing in something that is unknown, let us help you determine what treatment is right for you and your situation.
TMJ Headaches Treatment
One out of every 10 Americans suffers from chronic headaches, and they spend over half a billion dollars every year for over-the-counter medications to relieve their pain. They never imagine that their headaches may be caused by TMJ, and that their pain is the result of a bad bite.
Based on your evaluation with Dr. Grapevine, we may recommend one or several treatment options to restore balance to the TMJ joints and occlusal system. TMJ Treatment in Frisco TX may include the use of a custom night guard to prevent teeth grinding during sleep. Dr. Grapevine may also recommend orthodontic treatment to straighten the teeth and create a harmonious bite relationship.