Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your mandible to the rest of your skull. It is a unique part of your anatomy because it must be able to move up and down, side to side, and back and forth. It is connected to numerous facial muscles, all of which work together to help your TMJ operate. When something goes wrong that affects the TMJ’s function, this is a condition known as TMJ dysfunction or TMJ disorder (TMD). It is estimated that more than 10 million adults in the U.S. suffer from TMD.
Common symptoms of TMD include things like chronic jaw pain, difficulty chewing, a locking sensation in the jaw, frequent headaches, neckaches, earaches, and backaches. If you believe that you are suffering from TMD, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Pham. After a careful evaluation, she may recommend one of the following treatments to get your TMJ’s health back on track.
TMD often occurs due to poor occlusion. That is to say, your teeth do not fit together properly when your mouth is closed. This issue places extra stress on the TMJ and can lead to TMD symptoms. Often, the best way to address the problem is via equilibration, otherwise known as an occlusal adjustment. We take an impression of your teeth in order to analyze your bite. Then, Dr. Pham adjusts your restorations or natural teeth as necessary so they all function harmoniously together. If she must slightly alter one of your natural teeth, it is unlikely that she will have to remove more than a few millimeters of enamel.
An occlusal splint is a small oral appliance that is worn at night. The goal of an occlusal splint is to slightly reposition your jaw in order to help the TMJ and the surrounding muscles relax. It can also prevent the teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism) that often occurs at night and may be related to TMD. Dr. Pham carefully designs each occlusal splint to fit a patient’s unique needs. These devices are small, comfortable, portable, and easy to use.
TENS is an acronym that stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. Our TENS machine uses a low-voltage electrical current that is delivered to your nerves and muscles via little electrodes that we place at strategic locations on your skin. The electrical impulses may modify or block your perception of pain, thereby providing immediate TMD relief. It is an excellent way to begin TMJ therapy while Dr. Pham determines if you will require a longer-term solution. TENS therapy is not painful. However, you will feel some tingling in the areas around the electrodes — most patients actually enjoy the sensation! Each TENS session may last for 10 – 15 minutes.
Do you believe you are suffering from TMD? Finding relief from your chronic pain may be as simple as visiting our friendly, knowledgeable team. We are eager to help your entire smile function at its best!