Glendale Dentist

TMJ & Pain ReliefGlendale, AZ

Expert TMJ & TMD treatment begins with a Neuromuscular dentist using sophisticated technology to assess and treat problems with bite.

In diagnosing headache pain EMG readings are taken of the muscles of the head and neck. This allows us to determine the location and cause of the headache. This is a completely painless procedure similar to an EKG.

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As shown above, a low frequency TENS unit is used to relax the muscles of the head and neck in order to find the most comfortable relaxed position.

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Once the muscles are relaxed additional equipment is used to measure and record the new relaxed, comfortable jaw position. This instrument looks complex but is actually quite comfortable.

When all the measurements are taken, Dr. Chase will review the data and develop a diagnosis. At the consultation appointment, Dr. Chase will explain the results and the diagnosis so that you will have a better understanding of your condition. At this point, you and Dr. Chase can discuss treatment options, expectations and a final course of treatment.

Causes of Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD / TMJ)

TMJ

There are many causes for TMJ pain. The most common cause is a misaligned bite. While the teeth may look straight there can be a significant under-lying orthopedic problem with the alignment of the jaw. This misalignment can wreak havoc on the muscles of the face, head, neck and shoulders. This misalignment can also cause clicking and popping of the jaw joints (TMJ) causing considerable damage to the joints as they try to adapt to a bad bite.

Other causes may include whiplash injuries, sports injuries, or other trauma. These sources of TMJ problems are far less common however. Another frequent cause of TMJ/TMD can be improper or inadequate orthodontic treatment.

Symptoms of Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD / TMJ)

How do I know if I have TMD?Common symptoms include:

  • Clicking and popping of the jaw joints
  • Jaw pain
  • Teeth clenching
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Visual disturbances
  • Earaches
  • Ear stuffiness
  • Facial pain
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Vertigo (dizziness)
  • Persistent ringing in the ears

Most patients arrive at a diagnosis of TMD by default, their doctors simply rule out everything else. Many of the patients I see have typically exhausted every other avenue of treatment general medicine has to offer. It’s no wonder the patients become so frustrated. Many of these symptoms are so common it is easy to understand why TMD is often called great imposter. Treatment of these diverse symptoms requires an in-depth understanding of neuromuscular dentistry and the use of sophisticated equipment to accurately diagnose and treat each individual patient.

Diagnosis of Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD / TMJ)

Because many other conditions can cause similar symptoms – including a toothache, sinus problems, arthritis, or gum disease – your dentist will conduct a careful patient history and clinical examination to determine the cause of your TMD symptoms.

He or she will examine your temporomandibular joints for pain or tenderness; listen for clicking, popping or grating sounds during jaw movement; look for limited motion or locking of the jaw while opening or closing the mouth; and examine bite and facial muscle function. Sometimes panoramic X-rays will be taken. These full face X-rays allow your dentist to view the entire jaws, TMJ, and teeth to make sure other problems aren’t causing the symptoms. Sometimes other imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a computer tomography (CT), are needed. The MRI views the soft tissue such as the TMJ disc to see if it is in the proper position as the jaw moves. A CT scan helps view the bony detail of the joint.

Your dentist may decide to send you to an oral surgeon (also called an oral and maxillofacial surgeon) for further care and treatment. This oral healthcare professional specializes in surgical procedures in and about the entire face, mouth, and jaw area.

About Pain and Trigger Points

Referred pain has been a well known phenomenon to both medicine and dentistry for many years. Many pathways of referred pain relate to headaches and generalized head and neck pain. These are of particular interest in neuromuscular dentistry since many areas of pain can actually be traced to other areas of neuromuscular origin. In order to achieve successful resolution of symptoms all sources of pain must be addressed. The list of videos below illustrate some of the most common trigger points and the pathways of referred pain. The red dot indicates the origin of the pain the yellow dots indicate the area the pain is perceived.

Front teeth and eye pain referred from temples

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Eye and tooth pain referred from jaw muscle

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Headache pain can be referred from neck

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Headache pain can be referred from neck

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Referred ear pain from jaw muscle

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Teeth and joint pain referred from deep muscle

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