TMJ Treatment


We are trained in Neuromuscular dentistry which focuses on the healthy relationship among the teeth, jaw joints, and head and neck muscles. Many people live with the pain of TMJ (temporomandibular joint) on a daily basis because of a lack of diagnosis. Neuromuscular dentistry treats TMJ at its root cause, not at its symptoms. Frequently, people will seek out treatment for the symptoms caused by TMJ, not the true problem. The problem is that TMJ can cause pain in a number of places that do not seem related to the alignment of teeth, making it tricky to diagnose.

If you suffer from any of the following symptoms, you may have TMJ. If you have seen a doctor for these symptoms and have only received treatments for the symptoms (like pain prescriptions), you should visit us for a neuromuscular consultation.

Severe headaches are one of the most common symptoms of a TMJ problem. Tension headaches are the most common type of headache, and the TMJ headache is a tension type of headache. Clenching and grinding the teeth, which are TMJ symptoms, produce pain from the muscles in the head, which is a headache. Unfortunately, these headaches can be so frequent or severe that they are frequently misdiagnosed and treated as migraine headaches. Neuromuscular dentistry ensures the muscles are properly aligned so they do not have to work hard positioning the teeth to a strained bite.

By putting the temporomandibular joint back into alignment and placing the jaw into its optimal position, neuromuscular dentistry can alleviate most headache problems related to TMJ, muscle, nerve and joint disorders.

Traditional dentistry does not consider the role jaw musculature plays in providing a comfortable bite. It uses the present alignment of the jaw as a reference point in tooth alignment. Neuromuscular dentistry recognizes that the muscles that move the jaw must be in a comfortable, relaxed position so they are not in conflict with the teeth and joint. We use a number of sophisticated instruments to find the position of the jaw that allows the jaws, teeth, and muscles operate in harmony.

The first goal of Neuromuscular dentistry is to find the position of the jaw where the muscles are relaxed and at rest. This is a three- dimensional position in space, and is often irrespective to the position of the teeth. We use a device called a Myo-Monitor to relax the muscles. It is a low frequency T.E.N.S. (Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation) unit. This device delivers a mild electrical impulse to the muscles that move the jaw. The rhythmic pulsing (once every 1.5 seconds) relaxes the muscles. In addition to relaxing the muscles, it sets up ideal muscle function by increasing blood flow, flushing out toxins. We often find that after 45 minutes of stimulation, the muscles are in their ideal position. Once we have verified the comfortable position of the lower jaw, we can fabricate an orthotic that allows the jaw to close to this ideal position. In this position, the muscles are at an ideal length and will not go into spasm. Muscles will heal, pain trigger points will go away, and joint capsules will heal. The orthotic is used for three months to stabilize the bite and insure that all symptoms are gone. At this point, a decision is made to wear the orthotic indefinitely, have orthodontics done to move the teeth to this ideal position, have one or two arches of teeth restored, or to adjust the bite to this ideal position.