If you have a headache most of the time, and medications your doctor has prescribed haven’t provided any relief, you need to seek out the source of the pain. Spokane-based neuromuscular dentist Drs. Ken & Marnie Collins will be able to tell you if your pain is stemming, at least in part, from TMJ issues. TMJ (temporomandibular joint) issues vary from person to person, but can include the following symptoms:
- Popping or clicking when you open and close your jaw
- Bruxism –grinding of teeth
- Clenching of the jaw
- Tinnitus – Ringing in the ears
Even a small missalignment in your jaw can lead to any of these issues and more. Whether you’ve suffered with TMJ issues for years or they’re just starting, it’s best to contact Drs. Ken & Marnie Collins quickly before the symptoms continue to worsen.
How Did I Get TMJ?
Unfortunately, research hasn’t found all the causes of TMJ issues. Every person is different, and that has a bearing on the root cause of TMJ as well. Some of the causes include:
- Certain health care measures such as intubation
- Trauma from an accident
- Bad oral habits such as nail biting or pencil chewing
- Congenital issues
- Bad dentistry
How Is TMJ Treated?
The first thing Drs. Ken & Marnie Collins will do is use a K7 machine to evaluate your current bite. The K7 will tell them how hard your jaw muscles are working while opening your mouth, closing, and while they are “at rest”. In a misaligned TMJ, the muscles may never actually be at rest, which is the cause of most of the pain.
After getting the baseline data from the K7, Drs. Ken & Marnie Collins will hook you up with a TENS unit, which is a small piece of neuromuscular dentistry equipment that is powered by a 9-volt battery. Electrodes are attached to the jaw joints just in front of the ear and at the base of the back of the neck. Then Drs. Ken & Marnie Collins will turn on the TENS unit and gentle electrical impulses will be sent to the muscles of your TMJ system. TENSing is completely painless, and most patients enjoy it because it relaxes these muscles that have been so tense for so long.
After TENSing for 30-45 minutes, Drs. Ken & Marnie Collins will again use the K7 system to evaluate your bite which will now have changed. Your muscles will find their most desired at-rest position. Drs. Ken & Marnie Collins will then take a bite impression to record this new occlusal position.
Moving The Bite – TMJ Treatment
Next, Drs. Ken & Marnie Collins will discuss treatment methods for repositioning your bite into this neuromuscularly-balanced position that will alleviate your TMJ symptoms. At our Spokane office, we off the following TMJ treatment options:
- Coronoplasty – Making small changes to the shape of your teeth
- Neuromuscular Orthotics – some also call this a “bite splint”
- Full Mouth Reconstruction – using dental crowns and porcelain veneers to change the bite
The First Step In TMJ Treatment
“I got the veneers to improve my smile and reposition my bite. Since then, I have not had TMJ headaches or jaw pain. I no longer have jaw tension-related neck and shoulder pain. PLUS I have a new gorgeous smile.”