Learn More About TMJ Disorder Diagnosis

Smiling middle-aged blond with straight, white teethEstimates tell us that temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, also known as TMD, affects roughly 10 million Americans. The common condition can cause a range of painful symptoms and even impact your quality of life, but it is highly treatable. By thoroughly evaluating your bite and other factors, Dr. Ettienne van Zyl can provide you with a TMJ disorder diagnosis at our Memphis dental office, and advise you about available treatment options. Reach out to us today to schedule your consultation. 

Choosing a Specialist for Your Diagnosis

TMJ disorder develops when the joint connecting the jaw to the skull becomes misaligned, eroded, or damaged. A wide range of painful, frustrating symptoms may develop as a result. Consider an evaluation with Dr. van Zyl if you suffer from:

  • Pain in the head, neck, jaw, face, shoulders, or back
  • Tingling fingers and toes
  • Ringing in the ears or constant earaches
  • Clicking jaw joints
  • Pain when eating, yawning, or opening the mouth wide
  • An inability to open wide or fully close the mouth
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism) or evidence of tooth wear and fractures

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. If the TMJs are not properly aligned, the entire oral system will not function properly. If the condition is left untreated, worsening stress, swelling, pain, tooth wear, and muscle fatigue may ensue.

Diagnostic Testing

Dr. van Zyl uses various methods to properly determine the cause of your pain. Using advanced technology, he will assess:

  • Posture: evaluation of posture in relation to jaw alignment, which are related
  • Craniocervical: evaluation of skull planes and head motion
  • Neurological: rarely necessary, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan can check for neurological damage caused by TMJ disorder
  • Radiograph: cone beam CT (CBCT) scan of the joints provides a 3-D x-ray to aid in diagnosis and treatment planning
  • TMJ position with TENS and K7: TENS unit to relax jaw muscles and the K7 to evaluate jaw movement and ideal positioning of the jaw joints
  • Muscle palpation: looking for inflammation in the head, neck, or shoulder muscles

Several life-threatening conditions present the same symptoms as TMJ disorder, so it is crucial to rule out these potential concerns. 

The Importance of a Thorough Evaluation

If there fails to be a rational medical explanation for your discomfort, Dr. van Zyl will perform a neuromuscular evaluation to aid in a TMJ disorder diagnosis. During your examination, he will use transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit and an advanced K7 system to determine your current jaw position and its ideal alignment. By analyzing these two positions, he can prepare an individually-tailored treatment plan that can relax your jaw and help you find relief from your symptoms.

Schedule an Appointment

Whether you have been diagnosed with TMJ disorder and are interested in treatment, or are seeking diagnosis, we can help. Schedule an initial consultation with Dr. van Zyl today.

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Van Zyl Center for Advanced Dentistry

(901) 457-7753

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