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TMJ Disorder

Video: TMJ Treatment


Patients suffering from temporomandibular disorders (TMD) can turn to The Van Zyl Center for Advanced Dentistry for help. Dr. Van Zyl will evaluate the patient's temporomandibular joint (TMJ) with a K7 machine. After looking closely at the findings from this machine, Dr. Van Zyl will create a customized TMJ treatment plan for the patient, designed to help alleviate their painful symptoms.

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Do you have headaches, neck and shoulder pain, or ear aches and can’t seem to pinpoint the cause? Many individuals have TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder and aren’t even aware. TMJ disorder, or TMD, occurs when the jaw is misaligned, putting stress on the jaw muscles, which leads to a number of debilitating symptoms. It is important to seek treatment for TMJ disorder by a qualified neuromuscular dentist, such as Dr. Ettienne van Zyl, who was trained at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies.

TMJ disorder is diagnosed and treated within our state-of-the-art Memphis area dental practice. Patients can finally feel free from any discomfort caused by the condition, thus enhancing their overall quality of life. There is only one way to know for sure whether you have TMJ disorder, and that is to see Dr. van Zyl for an evaluation. To learn more about TMJ disorder, contact our Collierville dental practice serving all of Memphis today

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder is often misdiagnosed as other health conditions because the symptoms tend to be diverse, sporadic, and short lived. It is important to be aware of your ailments and take note of when they occur. Symptoms of TMJ disorder include any combination of the following:

  • Headaches, migraines
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Facial pain, particularly around the eyes, ears, and mouth
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Jaw clicking or popping
  • Earaches
  • Jaw pain, particularly when eating or speaking
  • Limited jaw movement; locking jaw

TMJ Disorder Diagnosis

Dr. van Zyl will perform a thorough evaluation of your condition in order to diagnose the problem.  It is important to rule out any other medical conditions first, before being evaluated for TMD, because there are life threatening medical conditions presenting with some of the very same symptoms.  If there fails to be a rational medical explanation, not fibromyalgia, it is time for a neuromuscular evaluation. Using only the most advanced technology available, Dr. van Zyl will evaluate both the hard and soft tissue of the head and neck.  Diagnostic testing includes:

  • Postural examination – posture and jaw misalignment are related
  • Craniocervical examination – evaluating skull planes and head motion
  • Neurological examination – MRI can check for neurological damage, though frequently unnecessary
  • Radiographic Temporo-mandibular joint evaluation – CBCT (cone beam CT-scan)
  • TMD examination – K7 technology is used to evaluate jaw movement
  • Muscle palpation – looking for inflammation in the head, neck, or shoulder muscles

TMJ Disorder Treatment

Once the condition is diagnosed, Dr. van Zyl will determine the best course of treatment with which to move forward. There are three main steps involved in treating TMJ, including:

  • Pain relief – First and foremost, Dr. van Zyl wants to make you feel more comfortable. A Transcutaneous Eletrical Neural stimulation (TENS) device emits an electrical current that massages the jaw allowing it to relax. 
  • Bite stabilization – In order to keep the jaw muscles relaxed, Dr. van Zyl will give the patient an orthotic, an apparatus that is worn all the time. The orthotic is an appliance fabricated from the information collected during the neuromuscular evaluation, that removes all the tension in the supporting jaw muscles, allowing the jaw to function in the most neutral neuro-physiological position.  
  • Correcting bite position – Dr. van Zyl will recommend the right treatment for keeping the jaw permanently in its proper placement, which may include a permanent orthotic, bite reconstruction with dental crowns, orthodontics, or coronoplasty – reshaping any problem teeth.

Causes of TMJ Disorder

Many factors can contribute to TMJ disorder, which is why it is such a common condition, including:

  • Misaligned bite – overbite, underbite, crossbite
  • Misaligned or overcrowded teeth
  • Misaligned jaw
  • Teeth clenching or grinding
  • Gaps between teeth or missing teeth, particularly the molars
  • Poor posture
  • Arthritis
  • Improper tongue position
  • Yawning or other jaw stress
  • Tooth or restoration fractures
  • Injury or head trauma
  • Tooth erosion at gum line

Learn More about TMJ Disorder

Living with TMJ disorder can be frustrating due to the constant discomfort and irritation. Patients will feel an overwhelming sense of relief once they can finally target the root of their discomfort and receive treatment. Dr. van Zyl is experienced in identifying TMJ disorder and coming up with a plan of action for correcting the problem. To learn more about TMJ disorder, contact our Collierville office serving Memphis today

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Van Zyl Center for Advanced Dentistry

(901) 457-7753

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