Tmd Diagnosis

by Patricia Woloch - Date: 2008-11-14 - Word Count: 556 Share This!

TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) is diagnosed and treated by a neuromuscular dentist. It has many painful symptoms, and millions of Americans suffer from it without knowing. They may be visiting a series of doctors in their efforts to find pain relief, taking a series of medications for headaches. Pain medications do, of course, help in reducing pain, but they don't address the cause of the pain.

TMD symptoms are many, and can mimic symptoms of other disorders. Many medical conditions might cause headaches or earaches. And simple daily anxiety can cause chronic tooth grinding or gum chewing. A blow to the side of the head such as you might sustain playing sports, or in a fall or some sort, might be dismissed as minor, and you might never connect it with any subsequent pain or discomfort.

Many people have never heard of neuromuscular dentistry. Typically, a TMD sufferer does not think of going to a dentist for treatment of the symptoms. But eventually, many do get there, and that's when the pain relief begins.

Diagnostic Steps

A thorough physical examination

This needs to be done by a qualified neuromuscular dentist who knows what to look for. He or she would talk to you to learn what symptoms you are experiencing, obtain your past dental records, and examine your teeth, gums, and bite to find dental problems that may be causing those symptoms. Full teeth X-rays are taken. If TMD is suspected, specialized diagnostic equipment will be used to make a firm diagnosis.

The K7 Evaluation System

This system, manufactured by Myotronics, is designed to gather information about the jaw joint and its attached muscles and nerves. These are non-invasive, non-painful tests. The system is computerized and uses electrodes, magnets and special sensors to do three important things for TMD diagnosis:

· Record the jaw joint sounds when you move your jaw

· Measure and record all jaw muscle movements

· Measure and record all jaw muscle electrical activity

These tests are done while you relax in a chair and wear a light headset. Results are output in two ways: one for you, the patient, in understandable language and diagrams; and one for your neuromuscular dentist, more specialized.

A TENS unit (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) may be used to relax the jaw muscles, and then testing repeated. This gives test results for both the relaxed position and the everyday tense position.

Further testing if necessary

This might include:

· Transcranial radiographs (X-rays for TMD)

· Arthrography (joint X-rays)


· Tomography

When the diagnosis is established

Your neuromuscular dentist will tell you of his findings and go over all the information with you. He or she will discuss possible treatment steps and ask how you feel about them, and about the whole situation.

There will probably be some simple steps you can take right away, such as:

· Eating a diet of soft foods to avoid putting pressure on the jaw joints

· The use of heat or ice packs to alleviate swelling and discomfort

· Avoidance of movements that may aggravate your condition, such as gum chewing or excess yawning

· Use of anti-inflammatory medicines or muscle relaxers

All TMD treatment is customized, and usually includes some dental work to improve your tooth alignment and bite. The first step in obtaining relief for your painful symptoms is to consult with a fully qualified neuromuscular dentist.

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If you are in the area of Rochester, NY, an excellent place would be Doolin Haddad Advanced Dentistry, where both dentists are graduates of the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI). They are both fully qualified to diagnose TMD.

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