Is TMJ Disorder Affecting Your Quality of Life?
If you are suffering from TMJ Disorder, or TMD, you are already aware of the debilitating consequences it can bring. Many times, people who have this condition have limited mouth function, cannot chew effectively, have chronic tension headaches, and other pain that affects the quality of their lives. If you are experiencing the symptoms of TMD, you are not alone. Dr. Ghina Morad sees patients with this devastating condition every day, and has extensive experience in treating TMD, from splints for mild instances to comprehensive analysis and therapy for more serious cases. No matter the severity of your TMD, you can find relief with our unique treatment options!
How Does TMJ Disorder Occur?
The temporomandibular joints connect your jaw to your skull and their muscles allow movement, including opening and closing of the mouth and moving side-to-side when eating. When teeth are aligned and working together correctly, no excessive amount of strain is added to these joints or muscles outside of the normal functioning. However, a damaged joint or any faulty contact of the teeth when chewing adds additional stress to these muscles, which may click, pop, spasm, or freeze as a result. Many times, clenching and grinding (bruxism) of the teeth is associated with this condition as well.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder:
- Tension headaches or migraines
- Neck, back, or shoulder pain
- “Clicking” or “popping” jaw
- Jaw pain or soreness
- Limited mouth mobility
- Chronic sinus tightness
- Locking of the jaw
- Ear ringing
Comprehensively Treating TMJ Disorder
For mild TMD cases, Dr. Morad offers NTI splints (or occlusal guards) that fit snuggly over the two front teeth. These guards prevent back molars from touching and decrease the strength of force to help lessen the severity of bruxism. In many cases, patients who use NTI splints benefit from less frequent migraines and an improved quality of life. For more serious cases of TMD, Dr. Morad can also inject BOTOX directly into the jaw muscles to provide a temporary paralytic effect that helps bring the force of the muscles back into their normal range of function. For patients with a misaligned bite, TMD treatment may involve bite realignment using orthodontic treatment, crowns, or tooth bonding.
When Is Disclusion Time Reduction (DTR) Therapy Necessary?
For some patients, wearing an NTI splint at night does not effectively alleviate symptoms of their TMD. Many times, this is because they suffer from faulty contact when their teeth touch that causes disturbances in their mouth during the day when they chew. To protect the back teeth from touching in unideal locations when chewing, the jaw muscles reflex and freeze to avoid these teeth from cracking or fracturing. This spasming of the muscles can trigger clenching and grinding, which also wears heavily on the teeth and can cause further damage. The most severe cases we treat with Disclusion Time Reduction (DTR) therapy.
What Is Disclusion Time Reduction (DTR) Therapy?
DTR therapy involves making very small adjustments to the surface of the teeth to eliminate faulty contact and create an even bite. We use advanced technology of both the Tekscan® digital bite analyzer and BioEMG muscle activity tracer to accurately pinpoint the exact location(s) and reason for your pain. During your treatment sessions, we will manipulate the surfaces of your teeth based on the results of the Tekscan® and BioEMG to restore function to your joint, muscles, and bite.
We will use the Tekscan® to analyze the force of your lower jaw movement and detect at what points your teeth touch when you bite. With the BioEMG, we can show you in real-time the activity of your jaw muscles, the force generated, and how much it is spasming.
We will schedule two or more sessions, where we will make tiny, painless “touch-ups” and adjustments of the tooth enamel to eliminate the extra contact that should not happen. This creates an even and equal biting surface so force is applied equally between all teeth when chewing.
Advanced Training and Technology for Accurate Treatment
Dr. Morad has received personal one-on-one training in DTR therapy from Dr. Robert Kernstein, the founder of the DTR concept, and has completed the second level of certification for DTR treatment. These advanced skills and training enable her to effectively detect and treat your TMD and help restore full function back to your jaw and mouth.