TMJ or Temproromandibular Joint Dysfunction is an umbrella term covering pain and dysfunction of the muscles of mastication and the temporomandibular joints. It is also commonly referred to as a “bad bite” or is often referred to as malocclusion. It can eventually lead to an imbalance in the relationship of the upper jaw to the lower jaw. This will result in an unnatural, strained position for the muscles of the jaw. The muscles do not like this strained position. As such they will compensate by constantly contracting. This will cause muscle spasm, pain and soreness. As they fatigue, there is a build up of lactic acid and other waste metabolites. These waste products are what cause the spasms and discomfort. At some point, the body tries to flush out the muscles with increased blood flow, which results in the pounding headache. Muscles work together as a team. When the jaw muscles, which are involved with chewing, biting ,talking, breathing and head posture are overused, they recruit muscles of the neck, shoulder and back. The tight, painful, contracted muscles of the jaw result in pain in the muscles of the neck, shoulder and back. Not all of our patients experience these symptoms, nor do we claim to be treating them. However, many patients are happy when these symptoms are relieved with neuromuscular treatment.
You need happy muscles
Using state-of-the-art neuromuscular dentistry, we determine if the symptoms you are experiencing are the result of a bad bite. We then go thru a series of steps to not only relieve your symptoms, but to also correct the cause of your symptoms. Treatment usually begins with the relieve of muscle spasms and the associated pain. We use a unit called a Myo-monitor which helps relax the patient’s muscles. The Myo-monitor stimulates the Trigeminal Nerve and The Facial nerve using a very mild electrical impulse. After TENSing there is much less activity and the muscles are much “happier”.
You need a comfortable bite
After the muscles are relaxed we start the next phase of treatment which is bite stabilization. We fabricate a temporary appliance, known as as an orthotic, which is worn on the teeth. The orthotic keeps the muscles in the “happy” position which was established with the use of the Tens unit. Once you are stable, we can move on to the next step, which involves correcting the bite to keep the jaws in this comfortable position. Sometimes it is possible to use orthodontic treatment to move the teeth into a position that is comfortable for the muscles.
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