Experiencing Pain Associated with a TMJ Disorder? Our Woodland Hills TMJ Specialist Can Help!
Temporo-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome (TMJ or TMD) is a common condition affecting a wide variety of people. TMJ can be characterized by varying degrees of headaches, muscle and jaw pain, teeth clenching and/or grinding, intermittent ringing in the ears, and issues of equilibrium. The vast majority of TMJ sufferers are unaware that the root cause of these problems is something that a dentist can effectively treat. Dr. Hilton completed a mini-Residency at UCLA in the treatment of TMJ/Orofacial Pain to further enhance his education and better assist his own patients.
The symptoms of TMJ are debilitating and can greatly interfere with every day life. The comfort and general well being of the patient is at the heart of this dental practice, so pain relief is the first consideration for Dr. Hilton. He is able to test, diagnose, and devise an immediate plan to treat the underlying causes of the TMJ disorder.
Reasons for treating TMJ
TMJ sufferers report that their symptoms generally worsen during periods of prolonged or unexpected stress, and that intense outbreaks of the condition can lead to pain extending into the neck and shoulder region, headaches of longer duration, and even dizziness.
The common causes of TMJ can be from arthritis, daytime clenching and/or teeth grinding at night, and trauma (any "blow" to the jaw). Dr. Hilton, through a series of conservative techniques, often can improve one's symptoms almost immediately. We are pleased to be utilizing the technology of portable monitoring in our practice which can help us evaluate the activity of the TMJ system during your sleep. This can often enhance our ability to determine the seriousness of your condition and thus devise the most appropriate treatment sequence for your actual condition.
The symptom of teeth grinding, called bruxism, is particularly common and usually occurs at night, thus the benefit of portable monitoring technology. The grinding will eventually erode the structure of the teeth and lead to much more severe dental problems in the future. Untreated TMJ is one of the prime underlying factors in eroded jawbones and loose teeth.
It is important for anyone experiencing the symptoms of TMJ to visit our office for a thorough evaluation and diagnosis.
What does treating TMJ involve?
TMJ could be a result of several different problems, thus requiring a thorough evaluation. On your initial visit to our office, Dr. Hilton will examine your entire head, neck and shoulder region. A special emphasis will occur palpating all your muscle areas, checking your posture, and thoroughly assessing the functionality of your jaw joint. How your teeth fit together and function in all movement patterns accompanies this jaw evaluation. A review of your dental history, including a history of teeth grinding, and a thorough headache evaluation will be important to the examination. Radiographs (xrays) of the jaw will be ordered when appropriate.
Once a firm diagnosis is attained, there are several ways in which relief can be provided. The key to your treatment is to understand TMJ Dysfunction is most often resolved with conservative approaches. Contrary to popular public dental marketing, TMJ issues are NOT related to a "bad bite", requiring complete reconstruction of all of your teeth, but rather what is being discussed on this website. Treatment protocol in the rehabilitation process will always involve a basic review of the principles of physical therapy, including stretching exercises of the jaw, neck, and shoulders. Often times, a custom made bite guard appliance will be fabricated to assist with the event of teeth grinding during the night, and help stabilize the jaw joint. Dr. Hilton will provide advice on relaxation techniques which will lessen the effects of stress. In some cases pharmaceutical agents, including muscle relaxants may be required. Additional therapies could be required in more complicated cases.
The included photo illustrates the portable monitoring electrode to assess the muscle activity in dental bruxism. Please note there are more detailed electrode techniques used in specific cases.
As with any procedure, Dr. Hilton will be happy to answer questions and discuss symptoms, options, and treatments.
Do you have Questions about TMJ Disorders? Would you Like to Request a TMJ Evaluation with Dr. Hilton?
Woodland Hills TMJ specialist, Dan Hilton, D.D.S., is an active member of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain and has extensive experience testing, diagnosing, and developing treatment plans for TMJ disorders. If you would like to request a TMJ evaluation, or if you have questions for our TMJ dentist in Woodland Hills, please contact us today.