TMJ / TMD Treatment – Beaufort, SC
Symptoms of TMJ / TMD
One reason why TMJ / TMD can be so hard to identify and treat is that it presents so many symptoms. Symptoms of TMJ include:
- Neck aches
- Facial pain
- Congestion, ringing or stuffiness of the ears
- Numbness in your fingers or arms
- Restricted jaw movement
- Clicking, popping, or grating sound in the jaw joints
- Excess wear, chipping, or cracking of teeth or restorations
- Unexplained loose teeth
- Recurrent jaw pain
- Unexplained tooth pain that affects many teeth and may move around
If you are suffering from some of these symptoms, then you may have TMJ disorder.
What Is a Gneuromuscular Dentist?
A gneuromuscular dentist is a dentist trained in the relationship of the muscles, nerves, and other soft tissues with the bones and teeth in your mouth and jaw. Based on more than 30 years of clinical experience and research, gneuromuscular dentistry has developed scientific, reliable, and predictable treatments for TMJ. This means we can give you long-term relief from your symptoms, including head and neck pain.
We can reduce or alleviate your TMJ pain by determining your jaw’s ideal rest position. By correcting a misaligned bite, we can reduce wear or damage to teeth.
How TMJ Treatment Works
We begin with TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), a kind of electrical massage. TENS relaxes the muscles of the head and neck, increases blood circulation within the muscles and stimulates the release of endorphins, a natural painkiller.
These sophisticated instruments have years of successful use in many different medical specialties. In gneuromuscular dentistry, we use them to evaluate jaw dysfunction, which can contribute to symptoms in your entire body, although the most common symptom is headaches. We combine these measurements with specialized x-rays to determine the best treatment for your TMJ. Sometimes, regular TENS massage and lifestyle changes are adequate treatments. Other times, an orthopedic mouthpiece may be recommended. Sometimes orthodontics is the treatment of choice to place the teeth in the correct position for a gneuromuscular bite and to improve jaw function. Rarely, surgery may be required to treat TMJ.
TMJ is a chronic condition that may take years to develop and likely worsens with age. However, our scientific diagnosis and treatments may allow us to help you get relief, even if other doctors have not been able to help.
Once we have relaxed your muscles, we can determine your jaw’s ideal rest position. Computerized jaw tracking is used to identify any irregularities in your jaw’s movement. EMG (Electromyography) is used to measure the electrical activity in the muscles, so we know when your muscles are at maximum rest. ESG (Electrosonography) is used to evaluate joint noises so we know whether there are any destructive or degenerative processes at work in your TMJ.
We will then fabricate a removable orthotic that will position your jaw into a comfortable position. You will return to our office for a follow up to ensure symptoms are relieving and that things are improving. For some people symptoms will be relieved quickly and continue to get better over time. For others the process may take more time. A removable orthotic is phase one of treatment. For some people phase one is all a patient will need. For others moving into phase two which could include crowns, bridges, implants, or orthodontic treatment is needed to maintain being pain free. This would be decided after phase one has been started.