If you have ever experienced pain in your jaw along with an uncomfortable locking or tugging sensation when you open your mouth widely (as when you yawn), it could be that you have TMJ/TMD. This is a disorder of the temporomandibular joint that connects the lower jaw to the head, and it is a common and extremely uncomfortable condition. It is why Michael Miyamoto, DDS of Miyamoto Dental Design Suite Inc. in Wailuku, HI offers TMJ/TMD treatment in our dental office.
What Is TMJ/TMD?
Temporomandibular disorder or dysfunction (TMD) is a multi-faceted disorder involving both medical and dental conditions. A Gneuromuscular dentist (someone trained in gnathology and neuromuscular dentistry) who has studied TMD can recognize and treat the root causes of this disorder instead of just treating its many symptoms. TMD problems are complex. It involves the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), how your teeth fit together during your bite, the muscles of mastication, and the central nervous system. Therefore, all of this needs to be addressed in order to achieve long lasting resolution.
Some of the common signs and symptoms of TMD are:
Jaw pain and stiffness
Locking of the jaw usually in an open position
Limited opening of the jaw
Bruxism or tooth grinding
Changes in the bite that leave the patient uncomfortable
Pain in the neck, shoulders, upper back, eyes and ears
Popping or clunking and clicking sounds when moving the jaw
Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
Migraine and tension type headaches
If any of these symptoms seem to occur on a regular basis, please visit our office and allow us to determine if you have this debilitating condition.
About a week or so before my cleaning [which was 6 months ago], I noticed my jaw would lock, and make clicking and popping noises which made it very difficult to open my mouth and eat. I was constantly feeling dizzy, getting headaches, and experienced some neck pains. In addition to that, I’d grind and clench so bad while I sleep [which I was unaware of] that I’d wake up with pain in my temples. So I spoke to Dr. Mike about my symptoms and he arranged a consultation with me explaining his treatments which were non-invasive. I decided to go with the treatment which included: wearing the dental orthotic/mouth guard 24 hours a day, and having monthly appointments to correct my bite that repositions my jaw. In just a few days of wearing my mouth guard, I immediately saw changes. I’ve been wearing my mouth guard for about 5 months now and all my symptoms disappeared. I feel more awake and the best part of it all, I sleep very well through the night. I’m so glad I chose this route over surgery. I’m free of pain! Thank you so much to Dr. Mike and the wonderful staff there. You’re all awesome!!!
The first step in treatment is gathering clinical and historic information from the patient during the Comprehensive TMD Exam. On this 1 ½ hour appointment, Dr. Miyamoto will also review the CAT scan images of the temporomandibular joint and pertinent surrounding structures with you.
The following Jaw tracking, Electromyography (EMG), and Sonography appointment can take 3 – 4 hours using the K7 Kinesiograph to measure and quantify this neuromuscular disorder. Unlike the still images of an X-ray or CAT scan, these K7 scans measure movement and will identify healthy verses compromised jaw function, it records range of motion, healthy verses compromised muscles, joint sounds, and helps to find your optimized, physiologic bite where the TMJ, muscles, and nerves all function together harmoniously with no pain or dysfunction.
The next appointment is the delivery appointment for the Gneuromuscular Orthotic. It is a specially designed custom oral appliance that realigns your jaw to an ideal physiologic and isotonic (neutral) position. This physiologic position can correct the muscle imbalances that affect the TMJ, posturing of the head and neck, and sometimes even the back, hips, legs, and feet. By wearing the orthotic 23 hours per day, 7 days per week, healing and stability of the joint will occur. More importantly, tight, spastic muscles will begin to unravel, allowing your body to recover and allow your neuromuscular (nerve and muscle) system to return to its normal peaceful state. Migraine headaches, pain of the jaw, neck, shoulders, ear sensitivity and other TMD symptoms will start to fade within days of treatment.
Once the patient is comfortable and the bite is stable using the orthotic, the next phase of treatment can be considered. First the patient is slowly weaned off of the orthotic. If the patient can be successfully weaned off with no TMD symptoms returning, the orthotic will then be used only at night while sleeping in order to protect the teeth and TMJ against damage from the occasional or chronic clenching and grinding habits. If TMD symptoms return and the patient cannot do without the orthotic, then orthodontic (braces) treatment or restorative treatment may be recommended as an alternative way to maintain the orthopedic (jaw) position established by the orthotic. This way the patient can remain comfortable and symptom free and not have to use the orthotic anymore.
For more information on TMD, please go to http://occlusionconnections.com/patient-education/
Contact Our Wailuku Dentist for TMJ Relief
If you believe you may have this difficult problem, or you have additional questions about the benefits of TMJ/TMD treatment, or about any of the other general dentistry treatments mentioned on this website, give us a call at our Wailuku, HI office at (808) 242-7007. You can also use our online contact form and one of our staff will get back to you promptly.