The Canadian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons reports that 25 to 30% of Canadians experience temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. If you’re one of those millions of Canadians, the symptoms of TMJ disorder are all too familiar: pain in your jaw joint; pain in the muscles on the side of your face and neck; problems opening your mouth fully; your jaw locking shut; a clicking sound in your jaw; and headaches and facial pain.
Surgical options for TMJ treatment in Silverado include arthroscopic or open surgery for joint repair, disc repair or replacement, or joint replacement. Joint replacement can be performed with bone grafts from the patient’s body or with artificial joint replacements. If you’re experiencing the symptoms of TMJ disorder, though, you should know that you have non-surgical alternatives for treating TMJ disorder. Here is everything you need to know about neuromuscular dentistry for the treatment of TMJ.
What is neuromuscular dentistry?
The goal of neuromuscular dentistry is to repair the alignment between your TMJ joint and your jaw. A misalignment of your jaw and TMJ can cause many of the common symptoms of TMJ disorder, including pain, ringing in your ears, poor jaw mobility, and problems chewing and talking.
A dentist near you may use a wide variety of technologies as part of a neuromuscular dentistry approach to investigating TMJ disorder. The objective of all these investigations is to identify the underlying cause of the misalignment of your jaw and TMJ. These investigations will leverage four types of technology:
- Sonography that measures vibrations in your TMJ while you’re opening and closing your jaw
- Electromyography (better known as EMG) detects electrical impulses in your jaw that can help measure the amount of force exerted on different areas of your jaw and face
- Jaw trackers analyze the movement of your lower jaw using 3D imaging
- TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machines provide relief from muscle spasms and try to train the jaw to function optimally
The combined results of a dentist’s neuromuscular investigations using these technologies will identify the cause of your jaw and TMJ misalignment. In many cases, that underlying cause is identified to be a malocclusion. Malocclusion is the word that describes an irregular contact between your upper and lower teeth.
How dentists treat TMJ by addressing malocclusions
TMJ treatment in Somerset often involves the development of customized mouth appliances called orthotics. Orthotics are mouthpieces created for your mouth precisely that will correct your malocclusion by repositioning the way the teeth in your upper and lower jaws meet. For many people whose TMJ symptoms are related to malocclusions, wearing that orthotic can provide almost immediate symptom relief.
In addition to providing an orthotic mouthpiece, your dentist will consider modifying the biting surface of your teeth to alter the way that they meet. Often the combination of those alterations to the biting surface of your teeth and wearing an orthotic are sufficient to eliminate the symptoms of TMJ. Even in the event symptoms persist, your dentist can offer non-surgical treatment options, including orthodontic treatment to change the alignment of your teeth.
There are situations when neuromuscular investigations, orthotics, biting surface adjustments, and orthodontic treatment are not enough to relieve TMJ symptoms. In those cases, surgical treatment may be appropriate and necessary. Your dentist will be able to exhaust all options for non-surgical TMJ treatment in Somerset. Surgery is effective, if appropriate, but most patients prefer to avoid invasive surgical options whenever possible.
Your dentist has the same goal — effective treatment for TMJ disorder in the most efficient and least invasive means possible. If you have questions about TMJ symptoms and possible non-surgical treatment alternatives, discuss those symptoms with your dentist and ask for their advice.