We have several state of the art technologies in our office we use to work with the muscles and nerves that control function to treat the dysfunction causing the problem. Our cone beam technology, dental CT, allows us to capture 3-D images of the jaw joint that aid us in the diagnosis of TMJ pathology. We also use our surface EMG (see EMG section in Services) to record muscle function and activity. A review of the patient’s diagnostic records is then completed so that an individualized treatment plan can be developed based on those findings and the needs of each patient’s unique situation.
Treatment for the TMJ patient is complex and must be individually tailored once the diagnosis is determined from the patient’s unique issues, their oral and medical situation and even their lifestyle. Most therapy usually involves fabricating a dental orthotic (acrylic mouthpiece) for the patient to wear regularly. We can then use the orthotic to reposition the jaw into a neutral neuromuscular position. The orthotic is checked regularly during the treatment period and adjusted as the muscles and joints readjust to this neutral position.
The goal of our therapy is to initiate healing in the TMJ and establish a means of maintaining stability for the jaw, muscles, and teeth (bite). This is accomplished by artificially changing the occlusion (bite) and jaw position. We may also need to introduce additional therapies, including habit training, to correct negative issues (see Habit Training section). Therapy for this problem takes approximately 6 months of working with and monitoring the patient’s progress to obtain stable results.
Once the joint and muscles become stable, treatment options for a more permanent solution to stabilize the joints are discussed with the patient. The goal is to help the patient manage their condition including better function.