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What is TMJ disorder?

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, shortened to TMJ, is where the main joint in your mouth, the temporomandibular joint, is misaligned or overworked. It’s a condition that can lead to pain around the mouth and neck, headaches and problems opening and closing the mouth. Some patients with TMJ disorder note that whenever they yawn or chew they experience a clicking in their mouth. Often the symptoms are mistaken for stress or other conditions.

TMJ Disorder can be treated through safe, nonsurgical treatment that will permanently solve the issue, so no one has to suffer TMJ disorder or its myriad side effects.

Treatment for TMJ disorder is handled by Dr David Frey, a leading expert in the field of neuromuscular dentistry, who has treated hundreds of patients suffering from TMJ disorder. Neuromuscular dentistry focuses on the position of the jaw, teeth and the tissues surrounding it.

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It can be caused by:

An unbalanced bite

Bad and uneven bites, such as an overbite or underbite are the primary cause of TMJ Disorder. A bad bite can be a result of airway problems, allergies during childhood, thumb-sucking and tooth-loss.

Deformation of the skull

The pressures and forces exerted on a baby’s head during birth can affect the shape and affect the development of the skull. Misalignment of bones, muscles and ligaments can all lead to TMJ later on in life.

Injury, impact or trauma

When the human body absorbs a serious impact, it can alter the joints and muscles in your head, face and neck. This causes TMJ and its resultant irritation, discomfort and pains.

Unbalanced dental treatment

Dental and orthodontic treatment which causes asymmetry in the mouth can affect the bite and lead to TMJ problems.

Two-phase treatment

Phase one - TENS treatment

Phase One: First of all, a TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machine is used to relax the jaw muscles using a series of tiny electrical impulses and find your jaw’s natural most relaxed position. The TENS machine will therefore relax and de-programme jaw muscles that have been overworked. Other exercises can also be used to decompress the temporomandibular joint. We will then use EMG data (electromyography data), to relax and prove your muscles are relaxed using a measure similar to a Richter Scale. After this, we capture this most relaxed position using high quality moulding material and then realign your bite into its optimal position.

Custom-made orthotic

After this, you will wear a custom-made orthotic (an orthopaedic device used to correct an underlying issue with your jaw placement). It rests on top of the existing teeth, is clear and looks completely natural, but will provide almost immediate relief from the effects of TMJ disorder, something that will increase as your muscles get used to the orthotic device.

Phase two - relapse prevention

Phase Two: Once you are completely comfortable with your new bite, Dr Frey may recommend additional cosmetic dental treatment to ensure the results of your treatment retain and there is no relapse of the temporomandibular joint. The exact nature of this depends on your individual circumstances but could include orthodontics or a full mouth rehabilitation. There are a number of options and Dr Frey will go through them with you at the end of Phase One of your treatment.

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