Treatment of TMD/TMJ
Once a diagnosis of TMD is made, the first line of treatment is, in most cases, an orthosis. An orthosis is a custom made appliance fabricated of plastic that can be worn over the teeth to maintain the neuromuscularly derived bite position.
It is important to note that at this point, nothing is done to permanently alter your teeth or your bite. You typically wear this plastic appliance for a prescribed period of time to verify that this new jaw position solves or reduces the problem. If it does, it has proven that the imperfect bite was the cause of the problem and you can elect to go on and have your natural teeth treated to permanently maintain that new bite position.
If symptoms are not substantially alleviated, the bite position is most likely not the cause of the problem. Your natural bite has not been altered and other causes may then be further explored. (Although this latter circumstance is possible, it is not likely since the neuromuscular dentist will only proceed with an orthosis if there are strong indications that the bite is a major factor in your problem.)
Correcting the Bite Position
Once it has been established without a doubt that the cause of the TMD is in fact a bite problem, the neuromuscular dentist with design a treatment plan to correct this more permanently. Sometimes an orthodontist or other dental specialist may be referred to for preliminary work. Using specialised equipment, and working together with a proficient dental technician, the neuromuscular dentist will create a bite that allows the jaw to sit in it’s correct resting position when not in use. It is important at this point to also consider any cosmetic requirements that the patient may have, as these can be corrected at the same time. Dr Wells has a number of “Before” and “After” photographs that he can show you to help you work with him toward the look you want to achieve.
Our dentist, Dr John Wells, has had extensive training and experience in both Cosmetic and Neuromuscular Dentistry. When combining these two disciplines of dentistry, the results are both cosmetically and functionally stunning. We have now completed a large number of neuromuscular cases, and have had fantastic results – even with chronic, severe headache sufferers. Following is an actual case study of just such a case, treated in our office.
Denture wearers are also benefiting from these relatively new techniques in Australia. Following intensive diagnostic testing and full Neuromuscular workups, our denture patients are telling us that not only are their TMD symptoms being greatly alleviated, but these dentures are the most comfortable dentures they have ever worn!