Illustration of skull with lower jaw in blue and red showing pain around joint

TMJ Treatment

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder occurs when the jaw is misaligned, putting stress on the nearby muscles and causing painful symptoms.

Dr. Ettienne van Zyl has studied neuromuscular dentistry and can treat TMJ disorder using advanced methods to correct your bite and alleviate pain.

Why should you seek treatment for TMJ disorder?

Illustration of skull with lower jaw in blue and red showing pain around joint

TMJ Treatment Is​ Beneficial to Your Overall Well-Being

Relieve Discomfort

While TMJ disorder originates in the jaw, it can affect areas throughout the body and cause unpleasant symptoms. Treating TMJ disorder can relieve discomfort including neck, back, and jaw pain.

Avoid Related Oral Health Issues

TMJ disorder can increase your risk of oral health problems like worn enamel and decay. Seeking treatment as soon as possible can help minimize the damage and avoid costly procedures.

Improve Your Quality of Life

Suffering from a locked jaw, headaches, and other painful symptoms can affect your quality of life. Undergoing treatment allows you to live uninhibited by TMJ disorder.

Misalignment plays a key role in TMJ disorder...

TMJ disorder illustration TMJ disorder illustration

Is it likely that you have TMJ disorder?

Dr. van Zyl has studied neuromuscular dentistry to provide more effective therapies...

Find Relief with TMJ Disorder Treatment

Do you have headaches, neck and shoulder pain, or earaches and can’t seem to pinpoint the cause? Many individuals have TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder and aren’t even aware. 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 Rogers, AR-area dental practice. 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 dental practice today

TMJ Treatment

Patients suffering from temporomandibular disorders (TMD) can turn to Ozark Comprehensive 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.

Understanding TMJ Disorder

The lower jaw, or mandible, is one of the few bilateral bones in the body that connects on both sides, left and right, meaning there is no physical bony connection between the jaw and the temporal bone of the skull. Two joints, the TMJs, allow movement of the mandible. The position of the mandible in the joints depends in part on how the upper and lower teeth fit together when the mouth is closed – a relationship called occlusion. Malocclusion, when the jaw is improperly aligned, can contribute to the development of TMJ disorder. Heredity, injury, and stress also cause the condition.

The trigeminal nerve provides sensation to facial and chewing muscles, and it also mediates and controls pain distribution throughout the head and neck. Problems in the TMJs can affect the trigeminal nerve and result in pain in the jaws, mouth, head, neck, shoulders, extremities, back, and ears.

Causes of TMJ Disorder

Many factors can contribute to TMJ disorder, which is why it is such a common condition.  In fact, some studies estimate that over 10 million Americans suffer with TMJ pain. Some of the most common factors contributing to TMJ disorder include:

  • 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 the gum line

Any of these issues can lead to uncomfortable symptoms. 

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

A smiling woman with brown hair

TMJ disorder is often misdiagnosed as other health conditions because the symptoms tend to be diverse, sporadic, and short-lived. An estimated 20 to 30% of the adult population is affected to some degree by TMJ disorder, but many sufferers are not aware of the source of their discomfort. 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, shoulder, or back pain
  • Facial pain, particularly around the eyes, ears, and mouth
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Jaw clicking or popping
  • Earaches or hearing loss
  • Jaw pain, particularly when eating or speaking
  • Limited jaw movement; locking jaw
  • Vertigo
  • Tingling or numbness in the fingers

These diverse symptoms can lead to other health problems and further affect your quality of life. For example, chronic pain and headaches can affect concentration and impair job performance. Migraine sufferers are also three times more likely to suffer from clinical depression. As such, it is important to seek treatment as soon as symptoms arise.

TMJ Symptoms

Many patients come to Dr. Ettienne Van Zyl for TMD or TMJ treatment. Common TMJ symptoms include jaw pain, joint pain, upper and lower back pain, chronic headaches, vertigo, hearing loss, ear aches, tingling or numbness in the fingers, and more. Dr. Van Zyl has helped many patients successfully alleviate their TMJ symptoms with customized treatment plans that focus on bringing harmony between the teeth, joints, and 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 Temporomandibular 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

These state-of-the-art technologies are not found in many dental practices, yet are critical in accurately diagnosing TMJ disorder. By using these tools, he can prepare an individually tailored treatment plan that can relax your jaw and help you find relief from your symptoms.

Woman rubbing her jaw in pain

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 Electrical 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 crownsorthodontics, or coronoplasty – reshaping any problem teeth.

Choosing a Specialist

Trained as a neuromuscular dentist, Dr. van Zyl was educated at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI). This focus has improved Dr. Zyl's treatment of many TMJ disorder sufferers, bringing relief and a higher quality of life to his patients. Neuromuscular dentists see the various components of the oral system individually, but understand that the teeth, gums, jaws, joints, muscles, and nerves must work in harmony for optimal health and comfort. 

Pairing Skill & Passion for Exceptional Dental Care

Dr. Ettienne van Zyl and his team
Dr. van Zyl and his team are proud to care for your smile.

Dr. van Zyl is highly qualified to provide your dental treatment: 

  • Trained at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies
  • Advanced knowledge in a broad spectrum of dental disciplines
  • Member of several prestigious dental organizations
  • Provides a full spectrum of treatment at his practice 

With a focus on personalized, comfortable care you can rest assured that you will receive the highest level of care with Dr. van Zyl and his team. Call us at (479) 372-4500 to schedule your consultation.

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Rogers Office

701 S Horsebarn
Ste 102
Rogers, AR 72758

Open Today 7:00am - 7:00pm