In addition to standard dental equipment, our office employs a number of technologies to enhance diagnosis, screening, treatment planning, and communication. We routinely use bite force sensors for quantitative measurement, analysis, and documentation of relative occlusal forces in time.
For TMD patients with muscle tension and fatigue, we have EMG sensors to record masseter and temporalis activity. For those with joint problems, vibration sonography provides objective evaluation of the TMJs in motion. And as needed, we coordinate with imaging centers and specialists for CBCT and MRI.
Burdensome TMD symptoms and/or damaged TMJs may arise from either:
(1) chronic microtraumatic malocclusion,
(2) acute macrotraumatic injury, and/or
(3) systemic & regional medical conditions.
TMD patients can (and often do) have more than one of these origins contributing to symptoms like migraine headaches, muscle tension-fatigue-spasms, facial tightness-burning-tingling, joint clicking-popping-pressure, limited or involuntary jaw & neck movements, compromised airway, nausea, tinnitus, vertigo, and other similar orofacial pains.
Malocclusion can exacerbate symptoms commonly diagnosed by medical professionals (e.g. ENTs, neurologists, DCs) as characteristic of Meniere's disease, Trigeminal Neuralgia, and Cervical Dystonia, among others.
Dentistry plays a uniquely important role in the diagnosis and treatment of TMD because your jaw muscles position your mandible within a dynamic range of motion which is in part governed by trigeminal stimuli provided by your teeth. A cascade of TMD symptoms can occur when parafunctional biomechanical and/or psychosocial stressors impose demands that exceed the adaptive capacity of your jaw muscles and TMJs.
Our TMD screening consultation will give you a better understanding of the nature of your symptoms and whether your options include conservative dental treatment. Disclusion Time Reduction (DTR) therapy can readily address malocclusion in patients with stable and adapted TMJs. Of course, medical conditions and macrotrauma origins should be screened as a part of determining DTR candidacy.
CRITICAL POINT: TMJ stability and occlusion are intricately connected to one another. Affecting the TMJs can readily affect the bite, and vice versa! Occlusal analysis is an important part of a thorough multidisciplinary diagnosis.
The relationship between occlusion and TMJ health allows dentistry to offer data-driven, precisely targeted occlusal adjustments for potential relief from migraine headaches, muscle fatigue, tension, and related TMD symptoms.