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.
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.
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:
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.
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.