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Colonial Dental Group Cosmetic Dentistry Blog - Dooley, Lewis, and Quezada

Thursday, June 19, 2008

How is TMD treated?

TMD stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (also abbreviated as TMJ). The jaw joint is a delicate ball-and-socket joint where the lower jaw connects to the temporal lobe of the skull. It is extremely flexible, allowing the up and down movement of eating or talking, the forward movement of thrusting your chin out, and the sliding motion from side to side.

Pain related to the jaw joint is so common that it has given rise to a new type of dentistry called neuromuscular dentistry. A neuromuscular dentist focuses not only on teeth and gums, but on the jaw joint and its related muscles and nerves. He diagnoses and treats all variations of TMD.

Diagnosis first
The process of diagnosing TMD will also tell us how the jaw is misaligned, and where its relaxed position is. Making that relaxed position permanent will be the goal of treatment. Each case of TMD is unique to that person, which means that each treatment is unique.

Treatment steps may include:
  • Altering eating habits
  • Jaw exercises
  • A customized orthotic to address bruxism, (teeth grinding), which is a major cause of TMD
  • Dental work to reshape or reposition certain teeth
  • Orthodontics to realign all the teeth
  • Home use of a TENS unit (using electrodes to relax the jaw muscles and relieve pain)

Surgical correction of the jaw joint is considered a last resort and is avoided if possible.

If you live in the Chicago area and are wondering if you might have TMD, please contact the Colonial Dental Group today to schedule an initial consultation.

posted by Patti at 8:18 AM

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