At Parkway Dentistry, one of our most important goals is to provide you with a complete, comprehensive examination. Part of this examination involves a thorough evaluation of how your jaw system works.
The jaw or masticatory system consists of three main components: TMJs (jaw joints), muscles (that move your jaw), and teeth. Our goal is to ensure that each of these components works harmoniously with the others. A breakdown in any part of this system can lead to problems for the other parts.
Symptoms that are common for people who have jaw dysfunction include:
- Sore jaw muscles and headaches
- Teeth that are wearing, chipping, becoming loose or moving
- Clicking or grating sounds in the jaw joints
- Lock jaw
- Jaws feeling tired after chewing for longer periods
The TMJ Exam
Our examination involves a detailed look at each part of your jaw system. We start first with the joints. We will use an ultrasound called a Doppler to identify and sounds indicating breakdown in the joints. We will also do a range of motion to make sure that the jaw can move freely without inhibition. Finally, we will do an orthopedic test where we load the joints to evaluate for any tenderness or tension within them.
We then proceed to evaluate the muscles. We palpate and massage each jaw muscle to evaluate for any tenderness. Tenderness within a muscle can indicate a disorder occurring such as an imbalanced bite or possible nighttime grinding.
Lastly, we evaluate the teeth. We look to see how they contact when fully biting and when the jaw moves in different directions. We also will evaluate for wear, mobility, and migration of teeth, which are all signs of jaw dysfunction.
If you experience symptoms of instability with your jaw system, there are treatment options we can provide to help restore you to optimal health. This includes splint therapy, where a custom-made splint covers either your upper or lower teeth, and creates ideal contact with the opposing teeth to promote peaceful muscles and joints. We also provide bite balancing, where we even out the contacts on teeth so the jaw is seated in a healthy joint position when you bite down. We do this only after we do a thorough evaluation of your bite on a set of mounted models to make sure that your bite can be balanced with minimal adjustments to your teeth. Then, during the procedure, we evaluate your bite using a digital recording of the forces on your teeth with a system called TekScan.
Our TMD treatment is extremely comprehensive. Dr. Modi does a thorough evaluation of your jaw system, uses modern equipment, and evaluates your teeth and muscles. With this type of complete care, you are sure to have the best results possible.