TMJ Disorders FAQ

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What Is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a small joint which connects your lower jaw to the side of the head. The TMJ makes it possible for the jaw to move smoothly upward, downward, forward and side to side. This joint, found on both sides of the head, is also designed to withstand the enormous force the jaw exerts. Given its specialized structure and tissue makeup, the TMJ is considered one of the most complex joints in the body.

What Are TMJ Disorders?

TMJ disorders (TMD) are conditions which affect the TMJ as well as the teeth, muscles of mastication, articular disc (cartilage), ligaments, bones, blood vessels and nerves. These conditions cause pain and dysfunction in the aforementioned areas. People with TMJ disorders may suffer from one or more of the following conditions: Headaches: Those with TMJ disorders may suffer from frequent headaches. The headaches are usually due to muscle tension which stems from a bite problem. Vertigo: This is characterized by dizziness or a sensation of losing one’s balance. It may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Vertigo may be brought about by a poorly aligned jaw. Poor alignment between the upper and the lower jaw puts excess pressure on the balance organs in the inner ear. Consequently, a decline in the ability of the organs to function may take place and lead to vertigo.

Tinnitus: Commonly described as “ringing of the ears”, tinnitus may affect just one ear or both ears. In some cases, it is mild and negligible; in other cases, it affects sleep and becomes intolerable. Studies have shown that those with TMJ disorders are more likely to suffer from tinnitus. Myofascial pain: This is characterized by pain and/or tenderness in the muscles which control jaw function. At times, pain or discomfort in these areas results in pain in other parts of the body such as the neck and shoulder (also called referred pain). In some cases, the TMJ doesn’t hurt but pain is felt elsewhere in the body. Inflammatory joint disorders: These disorders, which include rheumatoid arthritis and synovitis, may affect the TMJ.Internal derangement of the joint: This mainly refers to problems which prevent the jaw from functioning normally. Some of these problems are condyle injury, jaw dislocation and disc displacement. Do patients with TMJ disorders exhibit all these conditions? Patients may exhibit one or more of the abovementioned conditions. It is important to note that the symptoms or the conditions of TMD patients vary widely.

What causes TMJ disorders?

One of the causes of TMD is malocclusion or bite problem. A malocclusion may result in force imbalances in the chewing muscles. Consequently, this leads to muscle pain and/or improper positioning of the jaw bone in the joint. A malpositioned jaw may result in pressure on nerves, blood vessels, muscles, ligaments or tendons.

Trauma or severe injury to the jaw or temporomandibular joint is another leading cause of TMJ disorders. Displacement or dislocation of the disc located between the jawbone and the socket may also result in TMD. It may also be brought about by degenerative joint diseases like arthritis.

Clenching or grinding of teeth (also called bruxism) is noted as a contributing factor in TMJ disorders. As per experts, bruxism may be triggered by stress. This is why stress is said to play a significant role in TMJ disorders. Bruxism may also be due to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Hence, in cases involving OSA, treating the sleep apnea is imperative for a TMJ therapy to succeed.

How are TMJ disorders diagnosed & treated?

An accurate diagnosis is essential in successfully treating TMJ disorders. However, diagnosing TMJ disorders can be challenging. This is why expertise and state-of-the-art equipment are necessary to make a proper diagnosis. Typically, diagnosing TMJ disorders involves obtaining the patient’s detailed medical and dental history. It also involves physical and clinical examinations, imaging tests and bite and range of motion analyses.Here at 7 Day Dental, we employ a systematic diagnostic process using advanced techniques and tools to ensure the accurate diagnosis of TMJ disorders. (Read more information about our diagnostic procedure below.)

There are various methods or procedures used in treating TMJ disorders. However, in addressing TMD, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) strongly recommends the use of non-invasive approaches first. This means taking pain or anti-inflammatory medication and using stabilization splints. It also includes observing self-care practices or making lifestyle changes like avoiding triggers, managing stress or staying active. Should these fail to alleviate the symptoms associated with TMD, the next option is to use more advanced treatments like physical therapy which involves ultrasound, micro-stimulation, cold laser therapy and muscle manipulation. In some cases, prosthetic dental work, bite adjustment or orthodontics are also done. In very rare cases, surgery is performed but only as a last resort.

What are the signs and symptoms of TMJ Disorders?

  • * Pain in the muscles and joints when talking, chewing, yawning, etc. The pain may be sharp. It may also be a chronic dull ache for others.
  • * Radiating pain in the head, face, neck and jaw, Soreness and/or stiffness of jaw muscles.
  • * Locking of the jaw open or closed, Limited jaw movement or difficulty opening the mouth fully.
  • * Significant change in dental occlusion or the way the upper and lower teeth fit together.* Painful or non-painful clicking, popping or grating sounds in the jaw joint.
  • * Frequent headaches, earaches, vertigo or tinnitus.

Does a clicking, popping or grating sound when opening or closing the mouth signal TMD?

Endodontic treatments are primarily geared towards the prevention of tooth extraction. In short, these procedures help save your tooth/teeth. Furthermore, they relieve pain brought about by inflamed or infected pulp.

How long do the symptoms last?

For some cases, the symptoms improve or disappear in a few weeks or months. In some cases, the symptoms progress; patients suffer from long-term, debilitating pain.

Who treats TMJ disorders?

There are different health care providers who treat TMD cases. General dentists, orthodontists, oral & maxillofacial surgeons or orofacial pain specialist diagnose and treat TMJ disorders. These specialists possess the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully alleviate TMJ disorders.

Why should TMJ disorders be treated?

When left untreated, the symptoms of TMJ disorders may progress. It can cause chronic, persistent, and long-term pain. Consequently, with the debilitating pain, your quality of life may decline.

How does 7 Day Dental treat TMJ disorders?

In compliance with the recommendation of the NIDCR, we employ well-established, reversible and non-invasive methods in addressing TMJ disorders and their associated issues. We specifically use the TruDenta System, a trusted treatment for TMJ disorders.

I’m concerned about infection control. Should I be?

Here at 7 Day Dental, you shouldn’t be concerned about infection. To eliminate the risk of infection, we strictly follow the standards set by the Centers for Disease Control, OSHA and American Dental Association.

TRUDENTA SYSTEM FAQS.

The TruDenta System is utilized for health issues such as migraines, chronic headaches, TMJ disorders and other orofacial disorders. It is a comprehensive treatment system which focuses on correcting force imbalances in the mouth.

What can I expect from a TruDenta diagnostic procedure?

The TruDenta assessment process involves:

Getting detailed information about your medical, head health and headache history. These pertinent data are gathered through in-depth interviews/discussions and questionnaires among others. Clinical examination of your oral cavity, TMJ, head and neck which includes measuring your mandibular range of motion. The exam involves measuring how wide you can open your mouth. It also measures how far you can move your lower jaw from right to left and maximum protrusion. A myofascial muscle palpitation exam is also performed to uncover active or latent trigger points. In this exam, muscles and joints are pressed to determine if there’s any pain, tenderness and/or swelling. X-ray radiographs or cone beam CT are also taken. These are used to determine if any boney changes (like osteoarthritis o dysplasia) are present.

An MRI is, at times, recommended for the evaluation of tissue abnormalities like internal disc derangement and displacement. Range of Motion Analysis. This is used to compare your head and neck movement with the healthy human average. Moreover, with the ROM analysis, we are able to identify if jaw-related irregularities are present. Bite Force Analysis. It is performed to determine if imbalances in the way the jaw moves exist. In this examination, some information about the different forces involved in the mouth are gathered with the aid of a measuring device. The data gathered are used to make a 3D digital representation of the distribution of these forces as well as the timing of the contact between specific teeth. Through this, we are able to note if imbalances exist. In addition, the Bite Force Analysis plays a significant role in the determination of the extent of sensorimotor dysfunction. Generally, excessive, abnormal or unbalanced forces are trusted indicators of dysfunction and injury.

Why choose the TruDenta System for the treatment of TMJ disorders, chronic headaches, migraines and other associated issues?

The TruDenta System alleviates TMJ disorders and other related health issues. Its efficacy has been proven in several clinical studies. Dental practitioners attest that this comprehensive treatment system effectively addresses TMD and other associated conditions and consequently, enables patients to have a better quality of life.

Moreover, TruDenta is a comprehensive treatment system. To ensure accurate diagnoses, it employs a systematic diagnostic procedure which utilizes advanced technology. Meanwhile, the treatment process is generally painless and non-invasive. It is likewise needle-free and drug-free. Hence, you don’t have to worry about getting pricked as well as dealing with the possible side-effects of taking medication. Given these facts, it’s no wonder why TruDenta is the treatment of choice for TMD and other related health issues by many dentists.

What happens during in-office treatments?

The in-office treatments involve physical medicine therapeutic modalities using state-of-the-art technologies. Below are some of the in-office treatments: Therapeutic Ultrasound Treatment: The purpose of this treatment is to stimulate the circulation in chronically sore and strained muscles. This is done by increasing blood flow and providing gentle heat. The ultrasound treatment also seeks to break deep adhesions and scar tissue with the aid of targeted sound waves. Micro-Current Stimulation Therapy: This is performed to reduce/eliminate muscle spasms and lactic acid build up as well as to stimulate nerves.

Cold Laser Therapy: This therapy is performed to facilitate the healing of the joint and muscle tissue. This treatment also helps in rebuilding the natural nerve function as well as reducing pain and inflammation. Trigger Point Therapy: This therapy specifically addresses latent and active trigger points. Using muscle manipulation, it breaks up muscle knots and increases blood flow. With increased blood flow, inflammation is eradicated and pain associated with TMD and other symptoms are reduced or eliminated.

What is the TruDenta System?

The TruDenta System is utilized for health issues such as migraines, chronic headaches, TMJ disorders and other orofacial disorders. It is a comprehensive treatment system which focuses on correcting force imbalances in the mouth.

Why go to the dentist for head pain?

In some cases, chronic migraines, tension-type headaches and pain in the head, jaw and neck area may be interconnected. These things may be due to unbalanced forces in your bite. The imbalance may affect the muscles in these areas and may result in changes in the nerve and chemical reactions that cause chronic pain.
What are trigger points? What are active and latent points?

Trigger points are spots which are painful when touched. They may also cause pain in other locations, also called referred pain. An active trigger point is known to cause discomfort or pain. Meanwhile, a latent trigger point causes limited movement or stiffness.

What is the TruDenta treatment process?

The TruDenta treatment process is comprehensive, non-invasive and pain-free. Moreover, as TMD patients are different from each other, it is personalized to ensure the success of the treatment. The TruDenta treatment process is a combination of in-office treatments and at-home continuing care program.

What is the purpose of the TruDenta questionnaire?

The TruDenta questionnaire provides us with detailed information about your pain symptoms. It also lets us learn more about your dental history and the possible causes of your head pain.

What’s involved in the At-Home Care Continuing Program?

For the at-home care program, you are going to be provided with a home care kit on your first treatment session. The kit includes a relaxation CD, a rehabilitation orthotic and a micro-current device which can be used to relieve and manage chronic pain. The at-home care program also involves exercises which you can perform between treatments.

What is a rehabilitation orthotic?

A rehabilitation orthotic is an oral appliance worn for the entire duration of the treatment process, particularly every night while sleeping. This is done to determine to what extent the lower jaw position is being determined by the teeth (bite) versus the jaw positioning muscles and jaw joint anatomy.

Is the at-home care continuing program important?

Yes, the at-home care program is an integral part of the TruDenta treatment process. In fact, it has been noted that those who comply with the home therapy get the most impressive results. Hence, it is imperative that you strictly follow the at-home care program.

How long does the treatment process last?

The TruDenta treatment process may last for four to twelve session. However, the duration of the treatment process may vary depending on factors such as the severity of the problem, patient’s compliance with the at-home care program and patient’s response to the treatment.

What will I experience after my first treatment session?

Based on countless testimonials, patients experience relief after their first treatment. Moreover, they observe improvements in their symptoms.

Is TruDenta right for me?

To know if TruDenta is the right treatment for you or if you can be a candidate for a TruDenta treatment, an assessment has to be done. Our TruDenta specialists can help you with this.

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