Treatment options for temporomandibular joint, TMJ, disorders and bite correction can range from conservative to detailed treatment programs depending on the severity of the condition. It is crucial to seek evaluation for TMJ as soon as the condition is suspected. Early detection and treatment will prevent extensive damage to the jaw structure, the teeth, and alleviate the chronic pain associated with TMJ and bite misalignment.
The temporomandibular joint is located in front of the ears on either side of the head. It connects the lower jaw bone to the skull. The temporomandibular joint combines a sliding motion and a hinged motion; within the joint is a small disk that works to absorb the shock that occurs during chewing, talking, and yawning. TMJ can occur as a result of disk erosion or misalignment, injury from a direct blow to the jaw bone, or from damage to the cartilage or muscles that help to stabilize the joint. TMJ and the improper alignment of the jaw can cause pain and tenderness that radiates along the jaw line from the ear and along the facial muscles.
New technology has allowed for state-of-the-art, evaluation procedures used to determine the most effective treatment plan. A dentist will be able to determine the severity of the disorder by using one or a combination of the following advanced-technology tools.
The initial step in the evaluation process is a three dimensional x-ray of the entire temporomandibular joint. The Sirona Galileos CBCT, machine provides the dentist with the most accurate anatomic information through cone beam computed tomography, or CBCT, available. The images provided by this machine is the primary diagnostic tool for determining the pain source and structures involved.
A computerized bite analysis performed by the state-of-the-art TekScan imaging system evaluates the alignment of the teeth. The TekScan delivers detailed images of how the patient’s bite is misaligned. Realigning the teeth and bite is essential in treating TMJ disorders.
An assessment of the vibration caused by the friction that occurs during movement of the temporomandibular joint is a new technology that aids in the treatment of TMJ. This noninvasive procedure uses a high-tech system called the Bio-JVA, which stands for joint vibration analysis, to diagnosis joint dysfunction. The Bio-JVA records vibrations and the degree of friction from the joint through information collected while wearing a set of headphones for a few seconds. The data is compiled into a computerized image and the dentist can determine the appropriate treatment plan.