The tempormandibular joints (TMJ) are the hinged joints that connect the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull, which are immediately in front of the ears on the sides of your head. The joints are flexible, allowing the jaw to move smoothly up and down and side to side and enabling you to talk, to chew and to yawn. The muscles attached to and surrounding the jaw joints control the position and movement of the jaw. The TMJ are amazing joints, unique in the fact that they are the only joints in our body that not only rotate but slide, thus requiring the discs to slide with them, preventing bone to bone contact.
When TMD occurs, one or both of the discs are not functioning properly, thus allowing bone to bone contact. This dysfunction can cause popping, pain and discomfort, not to mention permanent damage to your joints and teeth over time.
Why Does TMD Occur?
Some of the causes can be…
- Injury…whiplash or other injuries to the face/neck
- Severe clenching or grinding of teeth
- Malocclusion (misalignment of the way your teeth fit together)
- Missing teeth
- Arthritis present in the joints
- Opening the mouth too widely (eating, yawning, singing, etc.)
- Holding the jaw in a prolonged unnatural position (musical instrument playing, dental procedure, etc.)
- Asymmetric growth
- Improper habits (gum chewing, fingernail biting, moving the jaw laterally, etc.)
What Can be Done?
Dr. Brown has been treating patients with TMD since the early 1970’s with TMJ Splint Therapy. He has relieved thousands of patients who were suffering. His holistic approach, with the avoidance of the use of medications, is the key to his success. Rather than simply treating the symptoms, Dr. Brown strives to get to the root of the cause. A complete medical and dental history is taken on each patient. Depending on the patient’s history, appropriate referrals to specialists may be made in conjunction with TMJ splint therapy. His office has an onsite lab and he fabricates the splints himself, making for a perfectly balanced appliance.
Does Insurance Cover TMJ Splint Therapy?
It depends on each individual policy. We are contracted with Kaiser Permanente, though you must seek a referral to us through your primary care physician. The referral department will then confirm if you have coverage for this type of treatment and refer you accordingly, usually to the Maxillofacial Department and then that department refers you to us if needed. Most dental insurances will cover TMD treatment as well as some medical insurance companies. Though we are out of network, we will collect your insurance information and inform you of your benefits and try to get you covered.
Our goal is to minimize your stress by providing you with optimal service. If we can be of any help to you, please contact our office today.