Q: What is TMJ?
A: Your Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is the joint where your mandible (your lower jaw) joins the temporal bone of your skull, immediately in front of your ear on each side of your head. Your TMJ, if not properly aligned, can cause Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD) also referred to as Myofascial Pain Dysfunction (MPD) or Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJS). When this joint is out of alignment, the muscles in the region become strained, causing pain throughout your face, neck, and shoulders.
Q: Why does this joint become painful?
A: If left untreated, TMJ problems can lead to many types of chronic pain. When grinding your teeth, clenching your jaw, or even chewing gum, you often put extra wear and tear on the cartilage in your jaw. Additionally, your misaligned bite can add to the pain and discomfort, as can arthritis.
If you wear out the cartilage enough, you may hear clicking or popping sounds when your jaw shifts back and forth, indicating that it is out of its proper alignment. Because of this pressure on your jaw when it is moving, you may experience pain or even lock your jaw in a closed or open position. Another indication that you may need assistance is ringing in your ears.
Dr. Konig is qualified to treat these problems (usually without surgery or braces), and he can greatly relieve your pain through his treatment.
Q: What are the symptoms of TMJ Disorder?
A: Common symptoms of TMJ include:
- Ear pain
- Jaw pain
- Facial pain
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Clicking and popping sounds in your jaw
- Limited range of motion in your jaw
- Uneven bite
- Difficulty chewing
If you exhibit any of these symptoms, you might be suffering from TMD. Dr. Konig will perform a thorough evaluation in order to diagnose your TMJ and recommend the appropriate treatment method to alleviate your symptoms.
Q: Is tinnitus related to TMD?
A: Yes. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is often caused by bite issues stemming from a misaligned jaw. If your tinnitus is a symptom of TMD, then Dr. Konig can use principles of neuromuscular dentistry to remedy the condition.
Q: Sometimes I hear a popping sound when I move my jaw. Do I have TMD?
A: A popping noise when you move your jaw is a common symptom of TMD. This sound is caused by a deterioration of the cartilage in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which results in the joint’s ball and socket rubbing together. If your popping noise is caused by TMD, Dr. Konig can recommend an appropriate treatment option to treat your TMD.
Q: What can Dr. Konig do to relieve my TMD symptoms?
A: Dr. Konig’s TMD treatment involves two phases. In the first phase, he will work to eliminate the pain associated with your condition. Treatment options may include TENS unit therapy, pain medication, muscle exercises and pain release splints.
The second phase of your TMD treatment will correct the actual problem causing your symptoms. Dr. Konig may recommend occlusal equilibration to even out your bite, restorative dentistry procedures to repair problems with your bite, orthotic mouth pieces to place your jaw in its optimal resting position or orthodontics to move your teeth into the proper position, eliminating bite issues.
Q: What is neuromuscular dentistry?
A: Neuromuscular dentistry is the art and science of using your relaxed head and neck muscles to place your jaw into its optimal physiologic position. Using this technique before restorative dentistry can greatly increase the longevity of your restorations and your natural bite. If you currently suffer from various levels of head and neck pain, you should be aware of 25 years of research and clinical experience that have shown neuromuscular dentistry to be effective in treating pain.
Q: What types of problems can neuromuscular dentistry solve?
A: Neuromuscular dentistry can solve many of the problems from which you may suffer, including:
- Unexplained loose tooth or teeth
- Worn, chipped, or cracked teeth
- Cracked, chipped, or broken dental restorations you previously had done
- Pain or soreness around your jaw joints
- Pain in your teeth that seems to move around
- Chronic neck, shoulder, or back pain,
- Facial pain
- Clicking or grating sounds in your jaw joints
- Limited movement in your jaw or locking jaw
- Numbness in your fingers and arms
- Congestion, stuffiness or ringing in your ears
Q: What is the procedure involved in treating my pain through neuromuscular dentistry?
A: Dr. Konig’s procedure involves using a sophisticated computerized process, which records and interprets your TMJ sounds, masticatory (chewing) muscle activity and the path of movement your jaw follows when in use. This process allows our neuromuscular dentist to find the most relaxed physiological position for your jaw. Using this information combined with tomography (a specialized jaw joint x-ray), helps determine your best bite position for comfort as well as for your natural beauty.
For more information about neuromuscular dentistry or TMJ Disorder, please call Dr. Konig today at (713) 425-1302 to schedule a smile evaluation in our state-of-the-art dental office. We proudly serve the areas of The Woodlands, Houston, Katy, and Sugar Land, Texas.