How many times have you heard someone propose a solution to a problem and thought, “It’s more complicated than that.” Unfortunately, TMJ disorders often fall into this “more complicated” category.
TMJ problems can occur for a number of reasons. Accidents and injuries, illnesses and infections, arthritis, and teeth grinding all can affect the health of your jaw.
And in many cases, more than one factor is at work.
Knowing this, we want to be as thorough as we can in evaluating the jaw of any patient who could have a TMJ disorder. We recently acquired two new tools — a Jaw Tracker and an EMG — to help evaluate patients who visit our Woodbury, MN, dentist office.
Could You Have A TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorders can affect one or both of your temporomandibular joints. This is a long word for the two joints that connect your lower jaw (the mandible) to your skull.
These are ball and socket joints that allow you to open and close your mouth and to move your jaw from side-to-side (to a limited degree).
If you have a TMJ disorder, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
◼︎ Frequent headaches or earaches
◼︎ Frequent jaw pain or facial pain
◼︎ Neck, shoulder, and upper back pain
◼︎ Difficulty opening or closing your jaw completely
◼︎ Feeling like your jaw is stuck from time to time
If you are having one or more of these symptoms, please make an appointment with Dr. Wilhelm as soon as possible. The sooner we start your treatment, the sooner your pain can end.
Call 651-319-9064 to schedule a consultation at our dentist office in Woodbury, MN.
Finding Problems With The Jaw Tracker
As we noted above, TMJ disorders can develop for a variety and a combination of reasons. Knowing where your problem is occurring can help us assess what treatments are most appropriate for your specific TMJ issues.
The Jaw Tracker follows the movements of your jaw in three dimensions. Small magnets can be placed on you incisors. The Jaw Tracker’s sensors can make readings based on the location of those magnets to help Dr. Wilhelm understand what is happening as you open and close your jaw.
That in and of itself can be valuable information. Yet, we can get even more data by comparing the jaw tracker measurements to the readings with our JVA.
As we discussed in our previous post, the Joint Vibration Analysis measures the sounds make while you are moving your jaw. Sound gives us a way to measure the vibrations caused by friction in your jaw.
By aligning the JVA reading with the Jaw Tracker readings, we can identify where your jaw problems are occurring.
Dr. Wilhelm can use the readings made before and after specific treatments to gauge how effective they are for you. Many factors can lead to TMJ problems. Our goal is always to find the treatment that will work best for your particular problem.
An EMG For Your TMJ
We have mentioned previously that TMJ disorders can develop for many reasons. One of those reasons may be related to the muscles that connect to your jaw.
We use an EMG to evaluate the muscles around your jaw. EMG is short for electromyography. This is a way of recording electrical activity in your muscle tissue.
Our EMG device allows us to measure that activity in four separate muscles on both sides of your face. These readings can identify abnormalities in your jaw while it is moving.
These readings also give us a basis for comparing changes in your muscle activity as we work through your treatment. By using the EMG, we have an advanced way to measure how effective different treatments are for you.
Let Us Help With Your TMJ Disorder
Don’t suffer through another day of headaches, jaw pains, or other TMJ-related problems. Get help from Dr. Wilhelm and the highly-trained and caring staff at our office. We will do everything we can to determine if you have a TMJ disorder and to get you treated if needed.
To set up an appointment at our dentist office in Woodbury, MN, call 651-319-9064 or contact us online today!