Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)
Do you experience pain or tenderness in your face? Do you have frequent headaches, neck pain and/or ringing in your ears? Have you had dental work and/or root canals performed to treat tooth pain, yet the pain is still there? Do you hear popping, clicking or sandy sounds in your ears when you open and close your mouth? Have you ever had your jaw stuck opened/ closed or have had limited opening?
TMD at A Glance
The above symptoms are often due to TMD (tempormandibular joint dysfunction). 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.
When TMD occurs, one or both of the joints are not functioning properly. This dysfunction can cause 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
What Can be Done?
Dr. Brown has over 35 years of experience treating patients with this problem. He has relieved thousands of patients who were suffering. Dr. Brown has achieved this success by using a holistic approach. 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. If needed, Dr. Brown will fit each patient with a custom made orthotic (mouth guard or splint). He fabricates this appliance himself in office so as to help the patient as soon as possible.
Dr. Brown is fortunate to have a wonderful group of specialists with whom he consults in order to provide an accurate and complete diagnosis and treatment plan.
Sleep apnea may also be an underlying cause of the clenching or grinding, so, depending on the patient’s symptoms, and the review of their history, a sleep study may be ordered. In this case an oral appliance for sleep apnea may be a better treatment option.
Does Insurance Cover TMJ Splint Treatment?
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. PPO dental insurance companies may also cover our services, depending on your plan. As a courtesy we will check your coverage and work with your insurance company.
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.