TMJ Treatment that Goes Beyond Pain Relief
When it comes to treating pain and discomfort associated with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ/TMD), many general dentists offer bandaid solutions like nightguards or muscle relaxers that sometimes relieve the symptoms of TMD, but do not offer patients a true solution to their problem. Dr. James Block and his Fremont, CA dental team have taken a two year fellowship in the treatment of TMD, and they offer patients more than TMD pain management. Our team practices neuromuscular dentistry as part of the treatment and correction of the underlying causes of TMD. Neuromuscular dentistry is the dental treatment philosophy that promotes the study and understanding of how craniofacial muscles, bones, joints, and other connective tissues work together in ideal alignment. Using the latest neuromuscular dentistry tools and technology, the James Block Dentistry team examines patients’ joints, and recommends a treatment plan that restores optimal alignment alleviating pain and providing patients a permanent solution for TMD.
Progression of TMD Treatment
Any treatment plan at James Block Dentistry begins with a thorough examination and consultation. During an initial visit, Dr. Block examines patients’ joints, discusses when the pain began, and works to discover the underlying cause of TMJ disorder before beginning a treatment plan. This workup will probably include a CT scan if the joints, as well. Once Dr. Block is aware of patients’ current bite alignment and TMD causes, treatment is typically completed in twostages.
Stage 1 – In order to begin alleviating pain, treatment begins with ultra low frequency TENSing of the facial muscles and muscles that move the lower jaw. This is a type of physical therapy that relaxes the muscles and is the ONLY device approved by the FDA to accomplish this muscular relaxation. This therapy relaxes the muscles and joints that have become stressed due to TMD, and helps Dr. Block find the optimal resting position for the lower jaw. The staff and Dr. Block then register that new bite with a soft material that the patient lets their jaw close into and with impressions, the neuromuscular laboratory makes a removable orthotic. This is a clear, special appliance, that the patient wears to keep the jaw aligned so the muscles stay relaxed. These devices should hold patients’ bite in optimal alignment, and can be adjusted over the course of treatment. The way patients respond to orthotic treatment helps Dr. Block discover whether symptoms can be corrected with minimally invasive options, or if patients should consider more advanced treatment options.
Stage 2 – For those patients who want a permanent solution to TMD pain and discomfort, we use sophisticated diagnostic instruments to thoroughly measure the muscle activity and determine the jaws ideal position to maintain the low muscle activity. Once we have this concrete positioning information, we can recommend further treatment to permanently correct alignment concerns without wearing an orthotic device. Some of the treatments that may be necessary to permanently correct TMD include neuromuscular orthodontic correction to move the teeth into the correct position permanently or conservative porcelain restorations on the teeth to maintain that correct position permanently, as well.
Find Out More about TMJ Therapy
If you have experienced stiff jaw, pain in the jaw, difficulty opening and shutting your mouth, difficulty chewing, persistent headache, neck ache, shoulder ache, earache, or popping, clicking, or grinding sounds in the jaw, contact James Block Dentistry for treatment right away. Our friendly team is happy to help patients manage TMD related pain, and develop a treatment plan to permanently restore their jaw to ideal comfort and alignment.