TMJ Disorder

What is TMJ/ TMD?

TMJ, or Tempromandibular Joint Disorder, is a misalignment of the jaw joint.  The Tempromandibular Joint is just in front of the ear and can be felt when  opening and closing the mouth.   Some with this disorder will feel clicking or popping of the jaw if the joint is incorrectly aligned.  TMJ disorder is generally a chronic, degenerative disorder  that will progressively increase over a period of time.

What causes TMJ/TMD? 

 In most cases, TMJ disorder stems from malocclusion of the teeth.  Malocclusion means that your upper and lower teeth don’t correctly close together and are misaligned.  Malocclusion can occur from accidents or other trauma, incorrect orthodontics, poor restorative dentistry, or simply how the teeth erupted in the mouth as a child.  When the teeth are misaligned, it causes a person to adjust their bite in order to chew and swallow.  This abnormal adjustment causes the muscles to be strained and can result in pain throughout the face, head, arms, shoulders, and back.  Many patients are not aware of the causes of these pains, especially if orthodontics (braces) has given them straight, beautiful teeth.  A slight to severe misalignment of the teeth can slowly cause excess wear and damage to the TMJ joint.

What are the Symptoms?

TMJ disorder causes pain of the hard and soft tissues, such as the muscles and nerves in the face.  The strain placed on these tissues can range from mild to severe and can cause anything from infrequent pain to constant, unrelenting pain.  Some people have headaches, jaw aches, neck and shoulder pain, popping or locking of the jaw joint, or ringing of the ears.  Most people who experience these symptoms will regularly dismiss it as an ear infection or stress.  Most will go undiagnosed for years until the symptoms begin to occur more frequently or the pain becomes greater.  If you experience frequent symptoms, it is important to ask your Dentist to check the alignment of your teeth.  The sooner the misalignment is diagnosed and corrected, the less damage will be done to the Tempromandibular Joint.

How is TMD corrected?

There are some dentists who recommend a full mouth reconstruction for those with the finances and time.  This involves placing crowns and new filings on nearly all the teeth.  For those who do not want to reduce or disturb perfectly good teeth, the BEST OPTION is Neuromuscular Therapy in conjunction with an Oral Appliance.

The Best Treatment

At your first appointment, Dr. Duke will use soft Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) stimulation and gentle massage to find the most relaxed position for your jaw to be in. Once the correct muscle alignment is found, an impression is taken for the oral appliance, also known as an Oral Orthodic Appliance.

Your second appointment will consist of TENS  and the fitting of the new oral appliance. This appliance will correct TMJ disorder by providing the correct bite which will result in relaxed muscles and a decrese in symptoms.

For the first several weeks you will be instructed to return to the office for occasional adjustments and TENS. This will aid your jaw muscles to slowly adjust and relax into the new position the appliance is creating.

Generally our patients feel an immediate relief from pain and TMD symptoms. The realignment of the bite restores the teeth, jaw, joints, muscles, and nerves to their optimal position and the pain disappears! Our goal is to provide you with life-long relief without prescribing invasive oral surgery.

We have had perfect success with each patient we have treated for TMJ/TMD. Dr Duke successfully treats TMJ disorder with non-surgical correction and neuromuscular therapy. We are offer FREE CONSULTATIONS for all who are interested in being uniquely evaluated by Dr. Duke. If you would like to learn more about our office, please check out our website. Call our Salt Lake City Dental Office for a FREE CONSULTATION @ 801-355-2202. We look forward to meeting you and providing you with pain-free dentistry!


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