The temporomandibular is located on each side of your face just in front of your ears. If you place your hands in this position and open and close your mouth, you can feel this complex sliding hinge joint in motion.
What is TMJ Disorder?
A TMJ Disorder occurs when there is an issue with the joints on each side of the jaw. Because we use these joints all day long to eat, drink, talk and even yawn, when a problem occurs it can really interfere with your quality of life. Living in jaw pain can be a serious problem and many doctors and dentists just treat these symptoms of pain without addressing the underlying issue that is causing the pain.
What Are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?
The most obvious symptom of a TMJ Disorder is jaw pain. However, there are many other, less obvious symptoms to be aware of that could point to a potential issue with your temporomandibular joint such as:
- Ear pain
- Neck or shoulder pain
- Ringing in the ears
- Facial pain or soreness
- Clicking or popping of the jaw
- Muscle spasms
- Stiffness or locking of the jaw
- A change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together
When it comes to treating TMJ Disorders, many medical professionals only treat the symptoms. This is where Dr. Abelar's advanced training and experience in this area really makes a difference in his patient's lives. Dr. Abelar is highly trained in an area of dentistry called Neuromuscular Dentistry which he believes is the key to fully treating TMJ Disorders and not just their symptoms.
Neuromuscular dentistry focuses on the connection between the body and the jaw including the patient's posture, muscle function, jaw development and overall health of all of these areas as they relate to oral health and wellness. Dr. Abelar’s diagnostic technology is state-of-the-art. Through a series of tests, he is able to determine whether a misaligned jaw, also known as a malocclusion, is the cause of the patient‘s pain symptoms. Dr. Abelar then treats the patient’s misaligned bite starting out with non-invasive neuromuscular techniques.
In the diagnosis, he tracks and records jaw movement, how the jaw rests, and how the jaw closes. This is vital information in determining if a jaw is misaligned. Dr. Abelar uses electromyography to gather important data about the jaw muscles as part of the diagnosis process. It is common for a misaligned jaw to make a popping or clicking sound when it moves. As part of the diagnostic procedure, Dr. Abelar records any sounds made and and analyzes them which can reveal important details for treatment. He also takes, x-rays and or CT scans (CAT scans) of the jaw for a visual evaluation.
When a patient is diagnosed with malocclusion, Dr. Abelar uses these diagnostic results to design a non-invasive solution that will realign the jaw from inside the mouth.
There is a wide variety of options available to realign the bite, and Dr. Abelar is happy to sit down with each patient and discuss the entirety of their treatment plan, so they have a full understanding of what is possible to eliminate their chronic pain. With neuromuscular dentistry, Dr. Abelar corrects malocclusion by repositioning the bite so as to avoid surgery.
Fun fact: Did you know Botox can be used in the treatment of TMJ Disorders? Read our blog here: Botox From the Dentist?
For more information about TMJ Disorder treatment, or to schedule a consultation, call us today at 858-256-4088.