Patients often come to Gentle Dentistry for treatment of TMJ (Temporo Mandibular Joint) problems specifically. We also accept referrals from other dental practitioners, doctors and chiropractors.
TMJ Syndrome or TM Dysfunction is caused by an imbalance in the bite (occlusion) which can produce many symptoms, but not necessarily all and sometimes only one or two.
As an analogy think of your car’s tracking. If the tracking is out the tyres will wear unevenly and can lead to damage if the problem is not corrected. Teeth are very similar and are designed to function in a special way when we chew. If the tracking is out this can cause any of the following signs and symptoms:-
- Headaches, especially on waking
- Migraine headaches
- Stiff neck and shoulder pain
- Front teeth which are worn down and/or have chipped biting edges
- Pain behind the eyes
- Pain in the jaw joints or clicking jaws
- Sloping shoulders
- Cracked teeth
- Facial pain after a car accident, whiplash injury or assault
- Lower back pain
- Hip pain
- Knee/ankle pain
- Sensitive Teeth
- Unexplained tooth pain
- Gum problems
- Poor sleep patterns due to night time clenching and grinding
and this list goes on. As you can see an imbalance in the bite can potentially cause many problems.
Many patients find themselves in the cycle of despair having attended various medical practitioners for treatment of its various symptoms.
The good news is that, at Gentle Dentistry, we have successfully treated many people over the last twenty years.
Treatment involves the use of acrylic bite appliances which allow the bite to be changed over a period of time.
Initially very accurate models of the teeth are also made and are mounted on a Dénar Dental Articulator which simulates the jaw movements accurately. This enables us to recreate your bite error and study it more closely. In this way your bite problem can be accurately diagnosed. If we suspect that the discs in the jaw joints are out of position or that there are degenerative changes in the joints an MRI Scan of the TMJ Joints may be indicated.
Next a custom Tanner bite appliance is made by our laboratory and is worn for approximately three to six months on average. Regular micro adjustments are made to the appliance under high magnification during this time. This allows the jaw muscles to relax.
Also during this time, and when appropriate, we may recommend a Chiropractic opinion. Should chiropractic treatment be indicated, this should be carried out immediately prior to adjustment of the bite appliance as the bite changes slightly when the spine is adjusted.
Bite appliances are fully removable by the patient for cleaning and social occasions.
Dr Robert Dobson was actually diagnosed with a possible brain haemorrhage over twenty years ago which turned out to be TMJ Syndrome. He suffered for two years and this experience, which kept him off work for over three months, enables him to empathise with his patients. This incident initiated his special interest in bite correction treatment and also led him to attending training in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ Syndrome. He is now a member of the British Society of Occlusal Studies and a member of the British Society for the Study of Craniomandibular Disorders.
If you think you may have TMJ Syndrome please call the practice today on 01202 432838 to arrange for an initial TMJ consultation where we will be able to examine your bite thoroughly and start to diagnose the problem.