TMD stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, also called Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ). It is a misalignment of the jaw joint, meaning that the upper and lower jaws do not come together smoothly. TMD is best treated by a qualified neuromuscular dentist, who has training in recognizing it from its diverse symptoms, and has the equipment to diagnose it. The school of choice for neuromuscular dentistry training is the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI).
A puzzling condition
Many of the people who arrive at the door of a neuromuscular dentist’s office have previously been to several doctors in search of pain relief. Headaches are the most prominent symptom and they can be very severe. They are often thought to be migraines, so the sufferer goes on a wild goose chase among doctors. Most doctors will not think of the headaches as having a dental cause.
SymptomsThey will prescribe painkillers and these will of course help, but only temporarily, as they do not address the cause of the headaches
The symptoms of TMD are puzzling in their variety. Eac
h person has a unique combination of them, in differing degrees of severity. Besides headaches, the most common symptoms are:
· Jaw pain
· Neck and shoulder pain
· Ringing in the ears
· Unexplained tooth wear
· Popping or clicking sounds in the jaw joint
· Inability to open the mouth fully
· Tingling in the arms or fingers
· Tooth grinding
Most of these symptoms could indicate other health problems besides TMD, and it is indeed possible to have several health problems besides TMD. If you recognize some or all of these symptoms,
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you may or may not have TMD, but it would be worth having a NewPortrx – SEO Monthly Report neuromuscular dentist rule it out.
The jaw joint
The jaw joint is a delicate ball-and-socket joint, where the mandible fits into a rounded space in the skull. Between the two bone surfaces is a cartilage pad for cushioning. When there is damage in the jaw joint, the jaw muscles, opening and closing the mouth hundreds of times a day, become strained in trying to make the teeth meet comfortably and correctly. It can’t be done (for reasons which need diagnosing by the neuromuscular dentist), so they become chronically stressed, inflamed, swollen, and thus the pain begins.
There are several large nerves running through the face, neck and head areas and down to the hands. They have many branches. When part of a nerve becomes compressed by swelling and inflammation, pain results.
The K7 Evaluation System
This is a sophisticated, computerized diagnostic system manufactured by Myotronics, Inc. A qualified neuromuscular dentist will usually have it in his office for doing a complete bite analysis. In a series of tests, it will give the dentist very precise information about your jaw, how it moves, and how its muscles behave.
1. Computerized Mandibular Scanning (CMS)
The mandibula is the lower jaw. You would wear a lightweight frame device on the head and face, which has eight sensors. A small magnet is attached to the lower jaw and as you move the jaw, the sensors track the magnet. This yields detailed information on the jaw’s three directions of movement: front and back, sideways, and up and down.
2. Electromyograph (EMG)
All muscles give off electrical energy, which can be measured in Microvolts (a millionth of a volt). This K7 device uses tiny electrodes on the jaw muscles and measures how relaxed those muscles are. The more tense they are, the more electrical energy they give off.
3. Joint Sonography
From a light headset and recording device, the K7 system records all sounds made by the jaw joints. It stores them in the attached computer for later study and correlates each sound to the exact position of the jaw at that time.
The results of each of these three tests can be printed out in an understandable form for the patient. The neuromuscular dentist can study the data and all its inter-relations, and add this information to that gained from a thorough dental exam. The end result is a diagnosis and treatment plan.
The battery-powered TENS unit (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) is a small miracle worker for someone who has suffered TMD headaches for any length of time. It is often used along with the K7 system. Several electrodes on the face, head, neck and shoulders give mild electrical stimulation as you sit back comfortably and drowse off. After 30 or 40 minutes, the jaw muscles will be relaxed and your pain gone.
This relaxed jaw position is your correct jaw position and now becomes the goal of treatment. Whatever conditions prevent the jaw from always being relaxed must now be addressed, until this relaxed position is permanent.
Treatments may involve an orthotic worn to retrain the jaw muscles. There may be dental work to reshape or reposition teeth which are out of alignment and interfering with a smooth bite. Some people have psychotherapy to address emotional issues which may have started a habit of tooth grinding or other forms of jaw muscle tension. There may be direct work need on the jaw joint itself. Each person’s treatment is customized and may be simple and short, or more complex.
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