The TMJ or Temporomandibular joint, is the joint connecting the lower jaw to the skull. Also known as TMD, or Temporomandibular Disorder (or TMJ syndrome), TMJ is often used as generic “shorthand” to describe the dysfunctions of the jaw muscles. Due to its location in front of the ear and at the rear of the mouth, proper function of the TMJ is mainly dependent on the maintenance of healthy teeth. The lower jaw determines function of the teeth and usually the upper jaw and teeth, which is stable and although is predominant in determining the aesthetics of your smile, it has contributory to function of your teeth as well. The TMJ has been called the most important joint in the body because of its profound influence on other parts of the body. According to American Dental Association there are more than ten million Ameicans that suffer from clenching, Bruxism and muscle pain, which can cause chronic headaches. clicking of the TMJ, and pain in muscles of neck, jaws, besides wearing down their teeth, and decreasing the occlusal (bite) vertical dimension (OVD).
TMJ pain and discomfort can be treated by Celebrity TMJ Dentist Dr Anthony Mobasser and his team of specialists. The etiologic factors causing TMJ pain are usually due to bite, occlusion, and occlusal disease, insomnia, and lack of proper airway. If untreated, these can lead to further breakdown of the joint and facial structure. It is critical to visit an expert dentist whose goal is to keep your teeth, gums, bones and joints healthy for your lifetime. He will perform a complete full mouth evaluation which is extremely detailed and comprehensive to find the root cause of TMD. Some causes of TMJ disorder could be due to immature interference’s of your teeth, not being balanced, and lack of canine guidance which is needed for your back teeth dis-occlusion.
Common symptoms of TMD include: pain while chewing, clicking or popping of the joint, stuffiness or itching, loss of hearing and dizziness in the ear, blurring of vision or eye pain, grinding or clenching of teeth, and pain in the facial muscles, head and neck.
TMJ Disorder can also come about a result of the following: excessive stress; whiplash or other head, back or neck trauma; crooked teeth or a deep overbite; the loss of teeth; poor posture; the strain of dental surgery such as poorly fitted dental crowns and dentures. Sometimes a seemingly unrelated injury (shoulder, knee, hip, etc.) can trigger the TMJ.
In our office, TMJ Treatment can heal many patients immediately. Maximal improvement of the disorder however, is usually achieved within 4 to 6 months. For some patients this may take longer.
TMJ Treatment is tailored to the needs of the individual. A careful study is done to clearly define the nature of the problem. Thorough consultation and examination of the patient is done and a comprehensive physical examination is made to evaluate the sites of pain, by Dr. Mobasser and his staff. X-rays of the teeth and TM Joint, plaster models of the mouth and a computer-assisted analysis of the TM Joints and muscular movements of the jaw are verified by the team. After a comprehensive analysis of the problem, a specific treatment plan is developed. Additional methods of treatment include: cranial osteopathic manipulation; myofascial release; applied kinesiology; acupuncture; and electronic relaxation therapy.
How is TMJ symptoms treated?
MRI and tomograms are necessary part in helping diagnose the cause of TMD.
Most TMJ pain is due to traumatic incident, or possibly due to missing teeth, shifted teeth or bad bite which is not balanced. Malocclusion is also a cause of TMJ pain, and TMD.
After the impressions and study casts, proper bite registration is taken, and the study casts are mounted in the articulator for bite analysis. After complete bite analysis, there is possibility of bite adjustments or occlusal adjustments by the TMD dentist, to create a more balanced bite and remove the interference from the bite. At that stage it is possible that the TMD dentist takes impression again and fabricate a splint to deprogram the muscles. The orthotic appliance or the splint is a great diagnostic aid in evaluating the release of tension in muscles of mastication, and hence alleviating discomfort in the joints. It is at that time that the patients teeth will be evaluated, for possibly raising the bite, by restoring part of the bite, ( limited dental reconstruction) or determine if full mouth reconstruction of the bite is necessary.
Dr. Mobasser has helped numerous patients with TMD pain and treated the root cause of the TMJ treatment problem. There are instances in which the patient may need to see an orthodontist, to correct the bite via brackets vs dental reconstruction which may include but not limited to adding deficient height to the teeth via raising the patients bite with such restorations as in veneer overlays, onlays, porcelain crown, dental bridges, and in some cases dental implants for missing teeth.