tmjScotts Valley and Santa Cruz, CA

Temporomandibular joint disorder (also known as TMJ disorder or TMD) is a condition of the jaw joints in which the bite is out of alignment. It may develop as a result of an injury, arthritis, missing teeth, or due to the natural development of your jaw. TMD presents a wide range of symptoms, including chronic pain that may seem to stem from other sources, causing the disorder to be misdiagnosed or overlooked entirely by general practitioners. Patients with TMJ disorder often seek out a primary care physician in which only the symptoms are treated instead of the source of the problem. Many physicians are not trained or experienced in identifying an actual case of TMJ disorder. However, Drs. Max and Ariana Ebrahimian, doctors with specialized training to diagnose and treat TMD, can provide you with relief from this all too common disorder.

Find out what TMJ disorder is and how we treat it at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry.

What is TMJ Disorder?

Chronic headaches, facial pain, ringing in the ears, neck and shoulder pain, tingling fingertips, headaches, jaw pain, and popping and clicking in the temporomandibular joints are just a few of the many symptoms that can affect patients suffering from temporomandibular joint disorder. The effects of this disorder may begin as intermittent pain, but eventually, if treatment is not sought, pain becomes chronic and can debilitating in severe cases. Because its symptoms are so far-reaching, it is best to request a consultation with a neuromuscular dentist in Scotts Valley to have an evaluation for TMJ disorder to identify the source of your pain.

Why neuromuscular dentists are the most qualified physicians to diagnose TMJ disorder

Many general practitioners simply do not possess the training and expertise to diagnose a case of TMJ disorder. This often leads to a misdiagnosis or prescribing medicine to mask your pain. If you never get to the bottom of it, the disorder will progress and worsen with time. This is why a neuromuscular dentist is the most qualified physician to diagnose and treat TMJ disorder.

TMD usually means one thing: chronic pain

  • Do your jaw joints ache?
  • Are you experiencing tooth pain that seems to migrate from place to place in your mouth for no apparent reason?
  • Are you living with frequent painful headaches?
  • Are you suffering from neck or back pain?
  • Believe it or not, all of these are possible symptoms of TMJ disorder.

How can my jaw cause so much widespread pain?

It starts with the temporomandibular joint itself, which connects your jaw to your head. If either of those joints become strained or unbalanced, it often affects the mobility of the jaw, and eventually causes pain. You may have difficulty opening and closing your jaws, or may start hearing a popping or clicking sound as you open and close your mouth. Jaw pain also is a frequently reported symptom. The issue with the jaw joints quickly radiates to affect the surrounding musculature and nerves and can spread throughout the body from there—causing pain in the face, neck, shoulders, or back.

The list of TMJ disorder symptoms may include any combination of the following:

  • Bruxism (also known as teeth clenching or grinding)
  • Unexplained tooth wear, broken teeth, or damaged dental restorations
  • Pressure or pain emanating from behind the eyes
  • Earaches or persistent ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness and/or vertigo
  • Tingling, numbness, or loss of sensation in the extremities
  • Poor posture
  • Problems chewing

Even this is not a complete list of the possible symptoms of TMD. Because they vary so widely from person to person, you should seek a consultation with an experienced dentist in Scotts Valley that specializes in TMJ disorder. If you experience any amount of chronic pain, do not hesitate to schedule an evaluation.

Neuromuscular Dentistry

Dr. Max Ebrahimian and Dr. Ariana Ebrahimian have made neuromuscular dentistry an integral part of their practice in order to help patients overcome these painful conditions and provide them with a healthy, harmonious bite (occlusion). A neuromuscular dentist understands that the teeth, joints, and muscles are part of an integrated system, and seeks to restore that system to proper function and balance. Neuromuscular dentistry is a discipline that requires extensive training and education far beyond what is taught in traditional dental school.

Both of our doctors have received rigorous training and education in this field of dentistry. Dr. Max and Dr. Ariana both have studied neuromuscular dentistry at the Las Vegas Institute, which is the pre-eminent institution in America for post-graduate dental education. Neuromuscular dentistry is not a discipline that can quickly be learned. Post-graduate education is essential to understanding the intimate connection between occlusal balance, the jaw joints, and the relation it has with the rest of the body. The training a neuromuscular dentist receives makes this specialist the best-qualified medical professional to identify a case of TMJ disorder and then provide treatment.

The process of diagnosing TMJ disorder

At Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, our TMJ specialists employ sophisticated diagnostic equipment to determine the exact degree of malocclusion, which aid in the most effective treatment outcomes.

Our diagnostic equipment includes the K7, a sophisticated computer program capable of tracking jaw movements, joint sounds, and function. It can identify your ideal neuromuscular bite with pinpoint accuracy.

If Dr. Max and Dr. Ariana determine that a poor bite is causing your facial pain or other symptoms, they will develop a treatment plan based on your individual needs. Treatment usually begins by focusing on pain management through orofacial relaxation. From there, our doctors determine the degree of which your jaw is misaligned, which helps in determining the type of oral appliance that is best suited for you. Long-term management of TMJ disorder involves restoring your bite to optimal alignment. Below, you will see specifics on how Scotts Valley dentists treat TMJ disorder.

How we can treat TMJ disorder and its effects

Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry offers several solutions to help stabilize your bite and allow your jaw muscles and joints to remain in their most comfortable, preferred position.

These include:

  • Orthotic therapy—Custom-fabricated oral appliances correct the relationship between the upper and lower jaws, allowing muscles and joints to function optimally. These appliances can be either fixed or removable, depending on your individual needs.
  • Bite adjustments—Also known as “coronoplasty.” Establishing neuromuscular balance may be as easy as recontouring the natural surfaces of your teeth.
  • Neuromuscular Functional Orthodontics (NMFO®)—Unlike traditional orthodontics, NMFO® straightens the teeth into a functional bite by incorporating the use of a neuromuscular orthotic.
  • Cosmetic and restorative procedures—Replacing missing teeth and placement of crowns or veneers may be an option to provide you with a healthy, comfortable, and functional smile.
  • Full Mouth Rejuvenation—Once the neuromuscular bite is confirmed, Dr. Max and Dr. Ariana can take you from problem bite to perfect bite in as few as two visits with porcelain crowns and veneers.
  • Co-management of oral surgery cases—If you require surgical correction, you’ll feel confident knowing that Dr. Max and Dr. Ariana will refer you to one of the best oral surgeons in the country. This team approach allows for efficient care and optimum results. Throughout the year, we invite one of the country’s top oral surgeons to our practice to connect patients with some of the most severe cases of TMJ disorder. We feature this information on our Facebook page. So, be sure to follow us so that you keep up with all the information on our latest techniques and tools, as well as news and trends in the world of dentistry that may help educate you to improve both your oral health and overall wellness.

How we relieve your TMJ disorder pain

All of these neuromuscular solutions rely on the power of technology.

Some of the instruments that Dr. Max and Dr. Ariana use to establish and verify a proper bite relationship are:

  • TENS unit—Ultra-low Frequency Transcutaneous Electro-Neural Stimulation helps relax the jaw muscles so an accurate bite record can be taken. This treatment should be a relaxing, comfortable experience. It also helps to manage the pain you are experiencing from your TMJ disorder. The doctors may prescribe this treatment more than once a week initially until we can get your pain under control.
  • Ionophoresis—A safe approach to pain management utilizing transdermal medication application, which does not use needles or narcotics. Instead, pain-relief medication slowly is released through the skin through the delivery of a low-grade electrical current, which transmits a painkiller called dexamethasone that can penetrate more deeply into the area of the anatomy being treated.

TMJ Relief in Scotts Valley

You don’t have to live with the pain of TMJ disorder any longer. If you are suffering from this ailment, you must be evaluated and treated by a qualified medical professional like our Scotts Valley neuromuscular dentists, Drs. Max and Ariana Ebrahimian. Without having your TMD diagnosed and treated, the disorder and the symptoms it is causing will only get worse. At Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, we are proud to employ the latest advancements in dentistry so that we can provide the best treatment outcomes for our patients. Schedule your consultation by calling our office today at (831) 438-4411.

Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry is here to serve patients in Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley in California.