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woman with jaw pain

TMJ &
Neuromuscular

If you are experiencing recurring headaches, jaw pain, frequent loose teeth, or numbness in your hands and fingers, you may have a jaw joint problem called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) that requires attention from a trained neuromuscular dentist. At Modern Dentistry Associates in St. Joseph, we diagnose and treat mild to severe cases of TMD, and we believe it is an important aspect of dental wellness.

The Condition of TMJ

TMJ actually stands for “temporomandibular joint,” the joint connecting your jaw to your skull. In some instances, the term is used to refer to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), a condition that occurs when your TMJ becomes misaligned. People with TMD are said to have a bad bite because the at-rest position of their jaw is not ideal. Even while their jaws are at rest, patients with a bad bite may experience soreness, head and neck tension, and other problems because the muscles and tendons are constantly stressed.

Diagnosing Neuromuscular Problems

St. Joseph neuromuscular dentist Dr. Sven Erickson is trained to recognize the signs of a bad bite, identify the cause, and reposition the upper and lower jaws into an optimal position.

One key component of our TMD diagnosis is the BioResearch BioPak. Dr. Erickson uses K7 to get an intimate look into how your jaw is functioning. Here’s how it works:

  • As you rest in the chair, a high-tech sensor is placed on the head or neck area.
  • The K7 system “reads” the activity that occurs as you move your jaws.
  • Jaw movements are recorded in 3D, along with jaw sounds (vibrations).
  • The information is printed in chart/graph form for Dr. Erickson to interpret.

How a Neuromuscular Dentist Can Help

Once Dr. Erickson has a good understanding of the specifics surrounding your jaw misalignment, he can devise the proper strategy for permanent repositioning. Your personalized TMD treatment may consist of one or several different treatment methods designed to eliminate your symptoms and create a healthy alignment of the upper and lower jaws. Mild cases can be improved by physical therapy or lifestyle changes, while moderate to severe problems may require oral appliances, medication, and other efforts.

TMD Treatment Customization

When deciding on a course of treatment for TMJ, Dr. Erickson will consider your unique combination of symptoms and the information gathered during your jaw tracking tests. He usually begins with the most conservative efforts, such as lifestyle/behavioral changes, to minimize symptoms and improve jaw joint health. Restoration of a healthy bite and pain relief are the ultimate goals, and they may be accomplished using oral appliances (usually worn during sleep), electric muscle stimulation with the TENS unit, dental restorations, orthodontic treatment, physical therapy, and in rare cases, jaw surgery.

FAQ


While many people with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), also referred to as TMJ disorder, never experience severe symptoms, some sufferers will be forced to deal with chronic pain that progressively worsens and interferes with daily life. Patients with severe TMJ disorder may experience sleeplessness, fatigue, stress, facial pain, headaches, and other symptoms which could adversely impact your overall quality of life. If you suffer from TMJ disorder, St. Joseph neuromuscular dentist Dr. Sven Erickson can help alleviate the condition so that you do not have to endure chronic pain any longer.
To accurately diagnose a problem with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), Dr. Erickson uses the state-of-the-art K7 jaw tracking system. This technology uses high-perception sensors that record your jaw movements and sound vibrations. By observing how the jaw functions, our team can pinpoint how and when the jaw is stressed or strained. The K7 system is integral in determining where the problem lies.
The goal of TMJ disorder treatment is to reduce and eventually eliminate all symptoms by restoring a balanced bite. Dr. Erickson will use the principles of neuromuscular dentistry to find the treatment or combination of treatments that will offer relief from headaches, pain, and other effects of TMD.
Dr. Erickson has received extensive training in the field of neuromuscular dentistry from the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies (LVI), the most prestigious neuromuscular dentistry training facility in the country. His years of education have been well tested during many years in practice as a general, cosmetic, and neuromuscular dentist.
The remedies for TMJ disorder will vary based on your symptoms and degree of bite correction required. We will first need to perform a full diagnostic evaluation in order to select ideal solutions and estimate the cost of treatment. During your first visit with us, we will give you a general idea of what your TMD therapy can cost, covering the full range of treatment options from conservative to invasive.
Once Dr. Erickson has a good understanding of the specifics surrounding your jaw misalignment, he can devise the proper strategy for permanent repositioning. Your personalized TMD treatment may consist of one or several different treatment methods designed to eliminate your symptoms and create a healthy alignment of the upper and lower jaws. Mild cases can be improved by physical therapy or lifestyle changes, while moderate to severe problems may require oral appliances, medication, and other efforts.

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