The diagnosis process involves using a sophisticated computerized calculation to record and interpret temporomandibular joint (TMJ) sounds, masticatory (chewing) muscle activity (EMGS) and the path of movement the jaw follows in function. This information allows us to find the most relaxed physiologic position for the jaw and combined with tomography (specialized jaw joint X-ray) helps determine the best bite for comfort and aesthetics.
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ disorder or TMD) has a variety of symptoms, many of which closely resemble other conditions. Therefore, diagnosing TMD can be a challenging process. In order to conclusively determine that you are suffering from TMD, our dentist will conduct a comprehensive evaluation.
Your TMJ Diagnosis
At your initial examination, our dentist will review your medical history. His evaluation will cover the following:
- Examine your face and jaw for pain and tenderness
- Listen to your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) for clicking or popping noises when it moves with computerized electro-sonography (ESG)
- Evaluate your bite
- Measure your jaw’s range of motion
- Examine facial muscle functioning
- Examine head and neck posture
After completing this phase of the examination, our Natick Dentist will answer all of your TMJ questions and may prescribe some films of the face and mouth so that he can make a more accurate assessment of any issues affecting your jaw, TMJ and teeth. These films are important in ruling out other conditions as the cause of your problem.
Sometimes, our dentist may recommend other tests as well, including:
- Computed tomography (CT-3D Imaging) scan to view the bones in the joint in greater detail
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to view the soft tissues (discs and muscles) of the joint in greater detail
- Tomography to view cross-sections of the jaw
After TMJ Diagnosis – The Next Step
If our dentist determines that your symptoms are caused by TMD, treatment will be based on the diagnosis. Most often treatment is based on neuromuscular dentistry principles. This is a specialized area of dentistry focused on making sure your jaw is properly aligned.
There are a variety of TMD treatments. Our doctor will recommend the appropriate method to address the unique aspects of your condition.
Treatments may include:
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy to relax your jaw muscles, reduce pain, and help Dr. Konig move your jaw to its optimal resting position
- Orthotics to reposition the jaw to its correct position (non-surgical)
- Pain medication or muscle relaxants
- Muscle exercises
- Night time mouth guard to prevent teeth grinding
- Neuromuscular oral orthotic worn on the lower teeth to help your jaw remain in the proper position
- Restorative dentistry treatments such as tooth crowns, dental bridges, or braces to move your teeth and jaw into proper alignment after correct position of the jaw is found