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TMJ

 

 

                                                What are TMJ problems????

 

First and very importantly....understand that there are many and varied problems which may act as a "TMJ" problem.  TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the joint directly in front of your ears on both sides of your head.  You cannot move your jaw, swallow, speak, bite or facially express yourself without in-volving these joints in some fashion.

The TMJ is a unique area of your body.  It is one-of-a-kind joint that is built to take the severe pressures and loads of chewing almost anything you would like to try.

Briefly, the problems which may occur in the area of this joint can be on one side only or on both sides.  The area can be painful, tender, or noisy for some of the following reasons:

    1.  Long-term pain and noise.

    2,  Locking open or locking closed.

    3.  Teeth that don't fit together when biting

    4.  Loss of teeth.

    5.  Abscessed teeth or a dying tooth nerve.

    6.  Derangements of inherited problems within the joint.

    7.  Postural or skeletal problems.

    8.  Trauma.

    9.  Nerve or blood vessel problems.

  10.  Certain systemic diseases (i.e. arthritis).

  11.  impacted or unerupted teeth.

The problem occurring in or around the area of the TMJ are extremely varied, individualized, and can involve a combination of several problems.

After the specific problem is diagnosed, you will be given an explanation of the problem and an outline of the treatment necessary to relieve pain and restore normal function.  Referrals to other health professionals, if needed, will be included.

Our clinical experience tells us that the pain and dysfunctional problem of each person is different, but the problems which are treated dentally fall generally into four categories; namely

    1.  Equilibration

    2.  Restorative

    3.  Orthodontic, or

    4.  Surgical

plus one extremely important mode--which is the help you can give yourself.  We have found that with proper identification and understanding of your problem, we are able in some cases to correct this problem to the point where it is no longer debilitating or painful.

                            " ....problems occurring in or around the area of the TMJ are extremely varied..."

 

In treating over 95% of diagnosed problems, we generally begin with an appliance to establish comfort, function, and autorepositioning.  The appliance is worn for 6-12 weeks with continuous correction and adjunctive therapy where applicable.

When we have gained the appropriate relief of pain and increased function by wearing the appliance, we can determine our next course of treatment.  Equilibration is one possible treatment.  Equilibration is a dental term that refers to the judicious reshaping of the tops of teeth or present fillings to allow teeth and jaws to come together in harmony with muscles and temporomandibular joints.

"...we are able in some cases to correct this problem to the point where it is no longer debilitating or painful"

Should your treatment require orthodontia, you may be asked to wear your appliance prior to and during the orthodontic treatment.  If you are a surgical candidate, two different appliances may be required-on pre-surgically and one post-surgically.

Just as there are different categories of treatment, there are different categories of fees.  Each fee is determined by the type of TMJ problem you are experiencing and the skill, care and judgement required to treat your individual needs.

All fees are inclusive of the necessary steps required to properly diagnose your problem, placing the appliance and the visits needed in the 6-12 week period following placement.

If you are covered by medical or dental insurance you may be eligible for benefits.  We will assist you in your efforts to maximize the benefits, but we cannot be responsable for collections a claim from your insurance company.

Just as we have said, each person's pain and problem is somewhat different, so we will be continually available to answer questions concerning each person's treatment and progress.

We may check one or more of the following as reminders, so that you may better help yourself.

    *  You must be willing to assume a major responsibility for effective therapy.  Take it easy on  your jaw   and facial muscles

    *  take an analgesic (pain medication) as prescribed with nourishment as necessary.

    *  Keep your teeth apart (except for eating) day and night.  During the day; use a reminder cotton roll on each side.

    *  Sleep on your back without a pillow, or with a cervical pillow.

    *  Eat soft foods; take small bites; restrain yawns.  Don't chew gum.

    *  Apply moist heat with a washcloth (10 minutes on, 10 minutes off) for one hour.

    *  do some type of physical exercise at least a half-hour daily.

    *  Tell yourself several times before retiring, "I am not going to clench my teeth while I am sleeping."

    *  Maintain a well-balanced diet.