Are you one of the 10 Million Americans who suffer from TMJ pain? You could have a more serious condition known as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMD. Medical experts characterize TMD as…
“…a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement.”
TMD symptoms include pain, muscle tension, headaches, limited movement, joint noises, arthritis, and anatomical changes, and can affect swallowing, speech and cause referred pain in other muscles of the upper body.
Headaches and TMD
Another symptom of TMD or undiagnosed TMJ pain is a headache or migraine. This is very common, yet extremely painful.
Depending on their level of symptoms, people look for solutions: massage therapy, chiropractic care, stretching, low level laser therapy, medication, plastic bite splints, or just avoiding certain foods. But, experts have found that the best cure for TMJ pain may be right in your dentist’s office.
The Cure for TMJ Pain and Headaches
Current research evidence has shown that the way teeth fit together, and how they work during chewing, affects the underlying muscles and bones. Changing the shape and fit of the teeth has a big effect in the supporting muscles. New dental work, heavy tooth wear, orthodontics, teeth shifting or removal will change the way the teeth fit and can make the symptoms worse. Sometimes just one filling can throw off the balance.
Dentists, like myself, who specialize in TMJ pain and treatment use computer-based measurement systems (T-Scan, JVA, BioEMG) to assist diagnosis and treatment for our patients. I can check the health of the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ). I look at the muscles to see if they are carrying muscle tension. I look at the teeth to see how they fit together during biting and chewing. If indicated, I may take x-rays or other imaging. We have to be concerned about other medical conditions that can cause similar symptoms.
A majority of the time, I find that the TM joints are mostly healthy, the muscles are tight but the teeth do not fit properly. The good news is that for these people, using these technologies together, dentists have developed a treatment with very favorable outcomes. It’s called Disclusion Time Reduction (DTR).
Disclusion Time Reduction (DTR)
DTR is a precise system to accurately balance the way the teeth work while monitoring muscle physiology, to reduce muscle tension and get people feeling better. When people have moderate to severe breakdown, we use traditional techniques but add the DTR finishing procedures to create better balance which helps people feel better and may reduce continued breakdown.
Disclusion Time Reduction Therapy uses 2 different technologies that work together. Most of the treatment is sanding off small amounts of the enamel on multiple teeth, but sometimes treatment includes adding tooth-colored fillings materials to build up other teeth. The T-Scan – a pressure measuring system, scans the tooth contacts in microseconds, measuring the timings of how the teeth fit when chewing, calculating the forces and balance. We use the computer to guide the changes. At the same time, we monitor the muscles of the face and temples with a BioEMG. EMG measures muscle activity – how hard the muscles are working, or if they are resting. When the teeth come into balance, the muscles show signs of relaxation, and we know we have achieved the desired result. Because timing is critical, measurement technology is the only way to monitor physiologic success.
Often, patients can feel the muscles start to relax before they leave the office! Usually complete therapy takes 2 – 4 visits over a 4 – 6 week treatment period. DTR tends to be very stable, but sometimes, future touch-ups are needed.
DTR is evidence based — and it works. It has a high degree of success for people suffering with specific symptoms, especially TMJ pain.
Are you looking to cure your TMJ pain once and for all. Contact us today and ask us about DTR — call at (626) 624-4030 or make an appointment.
About THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®
THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently situated with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we offer most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures, complete dental rebuilding and TMJ/ Headache management. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.