Top TMJ & TMD Dentist - Spokane Valley & North Spokane

What is TMJ and why is it Important?

TMJ

Every time a person visits the TMJ dentist; various abnormalities associated with TMJ, or the temporomandibular joint, are examined to detect any signs of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). The function of the TMJ is critical in enabling a person’s mouth to move up and down and sideways hence allowing the teeth to meet in their optimal bite position. As a result, a properly aligned TMJ allows you to have appropriate routine functions in speaking and chewing with no discomfort.

In addition, normal TMJ function is essential for the overall comfort of the jaw. In the case where an individual has a misaligned TMJ, he or she may experience severe pain in the jaw, headaches, and ear infections. Therefore, seeing a neuromuscular dentist is vital to helping identify and treat any TMJ misalignment issues in order to eliminate additional health complications associated with TMD.

What Can I Expect with a TMD Dentist?

When you book an appointment with a neuromuscular dentist, various neuromuscular dentistry diagnoses are made including x-rays and digital radiographs that aid in revealing the condition and position of the jaw joints. Moreover, other technologies are used to record the resting position of an individual’s jaw including its associated movements. Sonography and joint vibration analysis help in recording the sounds of the jaw joint in order to detect the presence of any abnormalities. Electromyography (EMG) measures both the relaxed and stressed positions of a person’s jaw muscles while identifying any structural defects in the jaw.

How is TMD Treated?

Following a neuromuscular dentistry diagnosis, the identified TMD is treated or managed using various techniques. Our treatment plans are designed and suited according to your unique needs in order to initiate the optimal positions for your jaws for long-term functions of the TMJ. The typical treatment option includes the use of mouth-guards crafted using a special machine that helps in tracking the movements of the jaw.

Your treatment of TMD may also involve relieving muscle pain and spasms using Ultra Low Frequency Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation (ULF-TENS). In this form of treatment, electrodes are placed on the jaw, neck and areas of the shoulder where electric impulses are generated. These electric impulses contract the muscles, helping them to relax.

Neuromuscular Dentist North Spokane - TMD Dentistry Spokane Valley - TMJ Syndrome Specialist - Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Your Temporomandibular Joint or TMJ is the most used joint in the body. Your TMJs (jaw joints) are involved with eating, talking, breathing and, probably most importantly, expressing our feelings and emotions. When things go wrong with your TMJ it is known as Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)

TMJ Dysfunction Symptoms

You may or may not experience jaw pain or tenderness with TMJ dysfunction. The most common symptoms include:

  • jaw clicking
  • jaw popping 
  • grinding 
  • limited jaw opening, or jaw deviation while opening (which you can observe in a mirror)
  • an inability to fully clench your jaw.

TMD sufferers are often teeth grinders or clenchers.  TMD can cause jaw headaches, ear pain, dizziness and upper neck pain. Some TMJ patients report pain or inability to eat, talk or sing. Tinnitus or ear ringing can be associated with TMJ dysfunction. (Vierola et al 2012)

What Causes Temporomandibular Disorder?

TMJ dysfunction is considered a multifaceted musculoskeletal disorder. 

The most common causes of TMD include:

  • Masticatory muscle dysfunction, 
  • Derangement/displacement of TMJ articular disc
  • Bruxism: nocturnal grinding of teeth leads to increased pressure in TMJ and asymmetrical movement.
  • Occlusal Problems: Poor bite, Asymmetrical or Retrognathic (underbite, overbite) .

Contributory factors include:

  • Mandibular malalignment secondary to occlusal appliance or orthodontic treatment.
  • Removal of wisdom teeth,
  • Prolonged mouth opening eg dental procedure, 
  • Poor cervical posture, 
  • Myofascial pain, 
  • Neuropsychological factors,
  • Stress, and 
  • Whiplash and other less common causes include: trauma (e.g., blow to the chin), infection, polyarthritic conditions, tumors, and anatomical abnormalities.

Temporomandibular joint disorder – more commonly known as TMJ or TMD – is a condition that affects the area where the jawbone attaches to the skull. With TMJ, common jaw motions like chewing and speaking can be painful experiences. In severe cases, the disorder can also cause headaches, ear aches, and discomfort in other areas of your body like your neck and shoulders. At our dental office, we provide a variety of treatments designed to reduce the symptoms of TMJ disorder. By detecting the specific cause of your TMJ, Dr. Wei can utilize the ideal technique to most effectively alleviate your TMJ symptoms.

How TMJ Therapy / Headache Prevention Works:

“TMJ disorder” may be to blame if you are suffering from headaches, a “popping” or “clicking” jaw, or if you’re grinding your teeth while you sleep. “TMJ” is a disorder caused when the joints that hold your jaw in place become misaligned and the nerves and muscles become irritated and cause these nagging and often painful symptoms.

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