TMD Therapy in Crofton MD
Some 60 million Americans have Temporomandibular Dysfunction (TMD). Simply put, TMD is the syndrome that happens when the muscles in the jaw and the temporomandibular joint are out of alignment or misaligned, causing problems when chewing. In plain English, the ligaments, muscles, bones and joints do not line up, causing pain. Sometimes called TMJ- this is a misnomer. TMJ means the Temporomandibular Joint- this refers to the joint that connects the base of the skull to the mandible (or the upper jaw to lower jaw) TMD refers to the problems associated with the TMJ.
Some Symptoms Associated with TMD:
- Facial Pain
- Jaw Pain
- Ear Pain
- Clicking/Popping in Jaw Joints
- Difficulty Chewing
- Limited Mouth Opening
- Uncomfortable bite
- Changing bite
- Muffled Ears
- Worn-down Teeth
- Neck Pain
What Causes TMD? These are the most common causes:
- Developmental (natural) defects, including the wearing down of teeth or fillings causing a misalignment of the teeth
- Stress that causes clenching of the jaws and grinding of the teeth
- Naturally misaligned teeth
What Can be Done to Correct TMD?
If the temporomandibular area has been damaged by arthritis or as a result of an accident, surgery may be needed to correct the TMJ and re-establish the proper occlusion. Far more likely, your doctor will recommend a therapy that may include a therapeutic splint, bite splint, or nightguard and specific exercises to keep the teeth from touching and to allow the joint to remain lined up, allowing the jaw’s hinge area to relax. Such therapy increases your comfort by diminishing the TMJ pain. If a splint is prescribed for you, it is very important that you follow your doctor’s instructions regarding the amount of time and time of day you must wear it.
TENS THERAPY (TRANSCUTANEOUS ELECTRICAL NEURAL STIMULATION)
When a TMD diagnosis and decision to treat is made, the first step in therapy is to relax the masticatory muscles, which are in a state of hyperactivity, fatigue or in spasm. This is done with TENS or Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation. This procedure uses a minute electrical current generated by a 9-volt battery. It relaxes the facial muscles. Usually TENS is used for one hour, sometimes longer. Feeling a series of rhythmic taps on the cheeks, patients can read or nap during TENS therapy. It is like an electronic massage of the facial muscles. This is preferable to medication, which can also relax muscles throughout the body resulting in unwanted side effects. This procedure comfortably and effectively relaxes the facial and jaw muscles with minimal electrical stimulation.
If your condition is temporomandibular joint irregularity (TMD), you need to wear your splint all the time unless directed otherwise. Do not remove the splint when you eat, as this would compromise your treatment and diminish its effect. The splint stops tooth-to-tooth contact and keeps your jaw lined up properly, allowing the muscles and joint area to heal. As this healing takes place and the symptoms gradually disappear, your doctor will adjust your splint to keep your teeth properly aligned. During this period of your therapy, you will begin wearing the splint fewer hours of the day and, after a period of time; you will no longer need to wear a splint.
One very successful treatment is the use of an orthotic, often called a “bite splint,” to reposition the muscles of the jaw and place the jaw in its optimal position. A bite splint is a removable appliance, usually fabricated of acrylic or composite, most often designed to cover all the biting surfaces of the teeth in the upper or lower jaw. All bite splints are intended to the do the same thing: provide an acrylic platform to bite against.
Grinding (“bruxism”) and Clenching: These conditions require you to wear your splint only at night while sleeping.
How do I start?
Give us a call at (410) 721-0900 or schedule your free consultation. During the consultation, we will further inform you on the technique, how it works, pricing, and if it is the right choice of treatment for you. Pricing varies depending on the severity of your case, and the length of treatment.