There is a variety of treatments for TMJ. Some of the treatments are simple and can be done at home. On the other hand, some of these treatments are not so easy and require proper experience and skill of a TMJ dentist. Dr. Blair’s standard approach to TMJ treatment is through use of proper neuromuscular dentistry. Neuromuscular treatment of TMJ involves treatment with occlusal analysis, TENS therapy, and a neuromuscular orthosis (sometimes called a “bite splint”), or other effective means to bringing the jaw into proper alignment.
Before you are given any type of TMJ treatment, you will need to schedule a neuromuscular consultation. During this first appointment, Dr. Blair will review your treatment history and conduct a thorough oral evaluation. Depending on circumstances and condition of your teeth and jaw, Dr. Blair may elect to schedule a follow up appointment for treatment. In some cases, Dr. Blair may begin TMJ treatment immediately.
To begin the actual TMJ treatment, Dr. Blair uses an ultra low-frequency TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) device to send gentle electrical impulses through the skin. There is no need for alarm or worry as this method is completely safe and the TENS device has been cleared by the FDA. Not only is this TMJ treatment safe, it is also painless. Most patients who undergo this form of treatment in our Fresno office notice immediate relief of their TMJ symptoms. After your TMJ joints are relaxed and your pain reduces drastically, Dr. Blair will analyze your bite again to check for proper balance. A full bite impression is made from the relaxed position of your jaw and is then used to manufacture a neuromuscular orthosis appliance. A neuromuscular orthosis helps correct the position of your jaw when you close your mouth. The orthosis will retrain your jaw’s muscle memory to close to the new position. This new position is one that allows your jaw to be in a proper position that is balanced and well-aligned.
Long-Term TMJ Treatment Options
Every patient’s needs are different. Depending on your bite’s unique challenges, Dr. Blair will walk you through your options and will help you select one of the following TMJ treatment methods.
Weaning Off Of The Appliance
After an initial treatment period of wearing the orthosis, some people can wear the orthosis exclusively at night to give their jaw muscles a break while they sleep. However, everybody is different, and depending on your case, your jaw may or may not be able to accommodate this TMJ treatment plan. Dr. Blair will help you decide whether or not this is a treatment type that will work for you. Read more about bite splint or nightguard therapy to see if it is right for you.
Orthosis Transitioned To Neuromuscular Orthodontics
For many people, the best long-term TMJ treatment is to move their bite into the newly found, ideal neuromuscular position using neuromuscular orthodontics. This treatment uses braces to reposition the teeth and bones that make up the bite.
Orthosis Transitioned To Neuromuscular Orthodontics and Reconstruction
In addition to orthodontics, some patients require some reconstruction to their teeth using porcelain veneers and dental crowns. The benefit to this solution, aside from being permanent, is that Dr. Blair is also able to fix any aesthetic challenges that your smile presents. What is better than being free of TMJ symptoms and having a flawless smile?
Orthosis To Reconstruction
In this long-term TMJ treatment option, after wearing the neuromuscular orthosis for a period of time set by Dr. Blair, if neuromuscular orthodontics aren’t absolutely necessary, you have the option to permanently restore your bite to its new, at-rest position using a process called “full mouth reconstruction.” Full mouth reconstruction involves the use of porcelain crowns and porcelain veneers to reposition the bite of your teeth in just a few visits to Dr. Blair’s office. The added benefit of full mouth reconstruction is that you can have a complete smile makeover at the same time and get the look that you’ve always wanted. This type of treatment is both physically and aesthetically pleasing to patients.
Dr. Blair recognizes that the TMJ system is connected to many other systems within the body, which means that sometimes, in order to achieve the best result, it is important to work with specialists in other areas of health care. Dr. Blair sometimes uses chiropractors, A.O.s (doctors who specialize in the position of the Atlas bone: (http://www.atlasorthogonality.com/), massage therapists, cranio-facial therapists, and other specialists as needed.
The First Step In TMJ Treatment
Your first step toward TMJ relief is only a phone call away. If you reside in the Fresno area, contact Dr. Blair today at (559)431-4488 to schedule a consultation. You will be able to work with Dr. Blair to figure out which TMJ treatment will provide you with the best results possible.