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Aesthetic and General Dentistry

Effective, Non-surgical TMJ Treatment to Alleviate Pain and Discomfort

Dr. Alfredo Gapuz in Orlando, FL, provides state-of-the-art solutions for temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). He completed specialized training at The Las Vegas Institute (LVI) in this field, and is dedicated to providing customized TMJ treatment to restore your quality of life if you suffer from TMD. This includes full mouth reconstruction and neuromuscular dentistry, both of which can dramatically reduce and even eliminate the symptoms of TMD.

Causes and Symptoms

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is located where the lower jaw meets the temporal bone, just at the temple. TMD occurs when the joint shifts out of proper alignment. Various nerves pass through the face and jaw area and TMD can create pressure or irritation in these nerves, creating a variety of symptoms, some of which can seem to have no relation to the jaw at all.

Because the symptoms of TMD are so variable, they can sometimes be misdiagnosed as entirely different problems. It takes a specially trained dentist to evaluate the symptoms of TMD and determine the most effective treatment. Some symptoms that can indicate a problem with the temporomandibular joint include:

  • Persistent headaches, sometimes mistaken for migraines
  • Persistent earaches, sometimes mistaken for inner ear infection
  • Discomfort in the jaw, neck, or upper back
  • Clicking or popping sounds in the jaw joint

These symptoms could indicate other, more serious problems, so it is important to find a dental specialist who is familiar with all the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for TMD.

Closeup of a woman rubbing her jaw.
Jaw pain or clicking in the joints while chewing or speaking are common symptoms of TMD. 

Treatment for TMD

A shift in the alignment of the TMJ can occur due to a variety of issues with tooth alignment, stress, body tension, and bone structure. Successful treatment of TMD takes all these factors into account and often combines several approaches for the best possible outcome. With his advanced training at LVI Global, Dr. Gapuz is especially suited to correctly diagnose TMD and provide the most effective, state-of-the-art treatments.

Full Mouth Reconstruction

Also known as full mouth rehabilitation or restoration, full mouth reconstruction restores all the teeth in both the upper and lower jaws through a combination of several procedures, including dental implants, bridges, and crowns. This option may be necessary if your teeth have been severely damaged or lost due to decay, severe wear, or injury. 

Orthotics

Teeth grinding is a common symptom of TMD. Patients with this problem often receive a custom-made mouthguard to wear at night. This mouthguard helps reduce damage caused by nighttime grinding. Teeth grinding is a symptom of TMD, but can also occur as a result of TMD.

Techniques to Reduce Stress 

The stress of everyday life can create numerous symptoms throughout the body, including teeth grinding and tension in the facial muscles that pulls the TMJ out of proper alignment. Dr. Gapuz can teach patients a variety of easy habits to reduce such stresses in small, but cumulative ways. 

Surgery 

In severe cases, surgery might be necessary to restructure the TMJ. This is usually a last resort after less invasive treatments have proven to be ineffective.

Use of these advanced techniques allows Dr. Gapuz to provide the best available diagnostics and treatments for TMD.

Neuromuscular Dentistry

A relatively new approach to TMD treatment is neuromuscular dentistry (NMD). While traditional dentistry focuses on the teeth, neuromuscular dentistry considers the bones of the jaw and skull, the muscle groups attached to these bones, and the nerves that are located in the face and jaw areas. All of these factors can contribute to or be affected by a misalignment in the TMJ.

A major part of NMD involves determining the proper resting state of your jaw joint. Muscles can become overworked and pull the jaw out of proper alignment due to environmental stress or because the jaw has shifted to accommodate a misalignment of the teeth. Using a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) device – which provides electrical stimulation to the muscles and is often used as a pain treatment – the dentist brings the jaw muscles to a state of complete relaxation. Once these muscles are relaxed, the proper “resting” alignment of the teeth can be determined. From there, the dentist can recommend appropriate treatments that help adjust the alignment of the teeth.

Other techniques in NMD include:

  • Jaw tracking: Tracks the habitual movement of the jaw when you open and close your mouth.
  • Electromyography (EMG): Measures muscle function to determine how the muscles work as they move your jaw.
  • Sonography: Measures sounds created within the TMJ as the jaw moves. These sounds can be evaluated to help diagnose problems with the joint.

Use of these advanced techniques allows Dr. Gapuz to provide the best available diagnostics and treatments for TMD.

Schedule a TMD Consultation

If you are experiencing persistent symptoms that could be related to TMD, contact our office online or call us at (407) 251-5001 to schedule an informative consultation. We can discuss your symptoms, probable causes, and possible treatments. A consultation will help you achieve the most accurate diagnosis and the best treatment path for your specific TMD issues.

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Orlando Office

14009 Egret Tower Dr
Orlando, FL 32837

Open Today 8:00am - 4:00pm

Hours & Info Directions (407) 251-5100