Jaw pain, cracking, and difficulty chewing are often caused by pain to the temporomandibular joints also known as the TMJs. TMJ disorders can be caused by blunt force trauma to the face, repetitive grinding of teeth, arthritis, or muscle tension. They can cause a constellation of symptoms that range from easily treated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories to unbearable and requiring surgery.
Peak Family Dental Care understands how uncomfortable living with TMJ disorders can be. Dr. Bryan J. Shanahan has 20 years of experience treating these disorders with individualized solutions that provide long-term results. Today, he employs some of the most cutting edge solutions to managing TMJ disorders ensuring the best possible care for Cottonwood residents.
TMJ is Relatively Common
Even in the U.S. where a rigorous approach to dental hygiene is practiced, TMJ affects roughly 12% of the population. The joints that allow your jaw to open and close and move from side to side connect your jawbone to the temporal region of your skull. A number of factors can make this process painful for you. These include:
Blunt force injury to the jaw or face
Stress to the muscles in the jaw
Grinding of teeth
An eroded disk
A disc that has moved out of alignment
And sometimes arthritis
Additionally, injuries like whiplash which strain the muscles in the neck can eventually lead to TMJ disorders. What caused the disorder is less important than fixing the problem. TMJ disorders can vary from extremely painful and reducing the quality of your life, to relatively unnoticeable. When the symptoms are severe, that’s when most folks end up in Dr. Shanahan’s office.
TMJ has a number of characteristic symptoms that vary in severity. These include:
Frequent and recurring “tension” headaches
Locking, clicking, or popping of jaw joints (especially when yawning)
Difficulty opening your mouth wide
Muscle weakness in the facial muscles
Swelling on the side of your face
Difficulty chewing or pain when chewing
Toothaches, headaches, neck aches, shoulder pain
Earaches, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), dizziness, earaches
Unfortunately, one of the symptoms of TMJ disorders (teeth grinding or clenching) can also be a cause of the disorder. In other words, those who have a TMJ disorder also have a symptom that makes the disorder worse.
Peak Family Dental Care will thoroughly examine your joints and attempt to determine the cause of your TMJ disorder and apply an effective treatment plan.
Patients who suffer from TMJ disorders can experience a range of discomfort that can become severe and impact daily life.
Diagnosing TMJ Disorder
TMJ disorders may have multiple causes or a single problem may be creating the worst of the symptoms. Peak Family Dental Care provides our patients with the best possible treatment and the most modern techniques for treating and diagnosing these problems. The T-Scan™ system allows us to analyze the structure of your mouth, your haw, and the temporomandibular joints. We also use BioJVA™ Joint Vibration Analysis which can provide us with an even more accurate understanding of the way your jaw interacts with your skull. When two surfaces rub together, they create friction which produces vibrations. Additionally, we measure your teeth alignment to see if that can be causing your alignment issues. Once we have an idea of what is the most likely cause of your TMJ disorder, we can come up with a solution tailored to your individual needs.
Treating TMJ Disorders Effectively
Treatment for TMJ disorders generally involves a multi-step approach. While performing surgery on the joint may provide temporary relief, if it does not address the core problem, the joint pain will eventually return. Since our job is to prevent it from returning, we offer long-term solutions that provide both immediate and long-term relief.
To do this we provide an orthotic for your mouth that gently realigns your jaw. This will allow your joints and the surrounding tissue to begin healing. The orthotic we use is known as TruDenta®. Not only does it begin to allow your jaw joints to heal, but it will also provide us with more diagnostic information to personalize our approach to treating your TMJ disorder. The TruDenta system uses ultrasound, a low-level cold laser, and a number of other cutting-edge diagnostic tools to ensure that the therapies we prescribe will work for your TMJ disorder. Surgery can almost always be avoided and physical therapy is more effective for preventing future problems that simply cutting into your face.
The approach requires between six to twelve weeks and provides a permanent solution to a problem that won’t go away on its own.
Modern Technology For Improved Comfort
Our use of advanced technology allows us to redefine traditional TMJ care. TruDenta therapy only requires our patients to undergo one-hour sessions for about six to eight weeks. Not only are these tools and techniques gentler in nature, but their non-invasive approach can also contribute to the overall calm and relaxed experience we strive to create. This means our patients can expect comfortable, spa-like treatment.
Find the Relief You Need
The entire Peak Family Dental Care team strives to always provide care that is the most beneficial to our patients’ long-term oral and overall health. Peak Family Dental Provides our patients with comfortable elegant solutions to problems that will continue to get worse if left untreated. Contact us today to set up an appointment.