TMJ Treatment and Neuromuscular Dentistry
Neuromuscular dentistry performed by cosmetic dentist Joseph G. Willardsen, DDS can help patients who suffer from the debilitating effects of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders and other conditions of the jaw. TMJ disorders are often complex in nature and can create a myriad of problems for those affected. For these reasons, proper treatment requires an experienced diagnostician who can implement a wide array of potential solutions. Using state-of-the-art diagnostic testing methods and advanced treatment technology, our highly-skilled dentists at True Dentistry can identify the source of your discomfort and develop a customized treatment plan for alleviating painful symptoms, restoring proper jaw alignment, and a creating a healthy bite.
What is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorder can refer to a number of conditions that involve dysfunction of or injury to the temporomandibular joint, surrounding musculature, and/or nerves. There can be many reasons that TMJ disorders develop. Some of the common causes and risk factors that lead to bothersome TMJ problems can include:
- Arthritis of the TMJ
- Injury to the jaw or TMJ
- Scar tissue
- Chronic grinding or clenching of the teeth
- Overuse of the jaw muscle
- Worn, damaged, or misaligned TMJ cartilage
- Dysfunctional musculature or connective tissue surrounding the TMJ
- Genetic predisposition
- Bite problems and improper jaw closure
- Injury to the head, face, or neck
What Are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?
One of the most desirable effects of neuromuscular dentistry is that it can alleviate many of the painful and disruptive symptoms associated with TMJ disorder, including:
- Facial pain
- Jaw clicking or popping
- Problems opening or closing the mouth
- Problems biting, chewing, or swallowing
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Tinnitus (ringing ears)
- Ear ache
- Worn down teeth
- Numbness in the arms and/or fingers
Symptoms of TMJ disorder and other jaw conditions can have a serious effect on day-to-day life. Many TMJ disorder patients suffer with chronic pain and joint malfunction until they begin a dynamic treatment plan designed to address all factors contributing to their jaw and bite issues.
What is Neuromuscular Dentistry?
Neuromuscular dentistry is an advanced form of dental care that is concerned with correcting jaw misalignment and achieving balanced occlusion (bite) between the upper and lower teeth. Properly aligning the temporomandibular joint can relieve many of the symptoms associated with TMJ disorders.
Dr. Willardsen has been extensively trained in neuromuscular dentistry and treatment of TMJ disorders and creates customized strategies for accomplishing his patients’ treatment goals.
Treatment for TMJ Disorder
Dr. Willardsen utilizes advanced technology to perform comprehensive evaluations of the complex system of joints, bone, ligaments, and muscles, along with a computerized analysis of the bite and teeth. He has incorporated some of the most innovative neuromuscular technology into our practice—including the K7 Neuromuscular EMG and Jaw Tracking device and the T-Scan®—in order to deliver the highest-quality care for those with TMJ disorders. These technologies are highlighted below.
- The K7 Neuromuscular EMG and Jaw Tracking device allows Dr. Willardsen to measure, track, and display muscle electrical activity, which can lead to more accurate TMJ disorder diagnosis and more effective application of treatment methods.
- The T-Scan® Occlusal Analysis System measures bite forces and identifies problematic points of contact between teeth. The information provided by the T-Scan is incredibly accurate and allows Dr. Willardsen to create a precisely balanced bite.
Based on the findings gathered in your initial evaluation, Dr. Willardsen will create a treatment plan designed to improve the structure, function, and physiology of your TMJ and bite. These treatments can include:
- Therapeutic medications to alleviate muscle tension and inflammation
- Oral appliances
- Jaw and bite therapies
- Oral surgery
- Restorative dentistry
Many of these techniques can keep the structures of your mouth in a more relaxed and comfortable position, reducing symptoms and helping to improve your quality of life. Care typically begins with the most conservative treatment options first.
FAQs about TMJ Disorder and Treatments
I have previously undergone treatment for TMJ disorder, but I still have jaw pain. Can Dr. Willardsen help me?
Absolutely. It is not uncommon for our patients to have tried treatment with another dentist prior to seeking Dr. Willardsen’s expertise in neuromuscular dentistry. The advanced technology he uses to achieve in-depth analysis of the jaw and bite can enable him to make a more detailed and accurate diagnosis than many general dentists are capable of. With this diagnosis, he can develop a treatment plan custom-tailored to your precise needs.
I am experiencing several symptoms of TMJ disorder, but I do not want to have surgery. Are there less extreme treatment options that will work for me?
Dr. Willardsen offers a wide range of TMD treatment options and always emphasizes the importance of exhausting conservative treatments before exploring a surgical approach. We suggest you schedule a consultation at True Dentistry to learn more about your diagnosis and which methods would be most appropriate for relieving your symptoms. The solution could be as simple as a custom oral appliance.
Which restorative dentistry and orthodontic options can Dr. Willardsen use to improve my bite?
For some patients, Dr. Willardsen may recommend traditional orthodontics, clear braces, or Invisalign® to correct the bite and problematic misalignment of teeth. In other cases, custom crowns, dental implants, bridges, and/or porcelain veneers may be appropriate for restoring worn teeth, replacing missing teeth, and rebalancing the bite. The right approach for you will depend on the details of your diagnosis, Dr. Willardsen’s treatment recommendations, and your personal goals.
for more information on neuromuscular dentistry or if you would like to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Willardsen: