Neuromuscular DentistryFellow of LVI

Headaches, TMD, TMJ, neuromusclar Dentistry

Do you suffer from headaches?Do you suffer from migraines, frequent headaches, stiffness in the neck and shoulders, ringing in the ears, or tingling in the fingers? These are just a few of the symptoms you may experience if you have Temporomandibular Dysfunction (or TMD). TMD is treatable and Dr. Cook may be able to help you.

TMD or TMJ, is a cycle of pain, muscle spasms, and jaw joint problems that result when the teeth, chewing muscles, and jaw joints do not work together in harmony. TMD refers to problems with the muscles and joints that join the mandible bone of the jaw to the temporal bone at the base of the skull. Symptoms may include headaches, worn teeth, sensitive teeth, painful muscles, clicking & popping of the jaw, earaches, pain behind the eyes, difficulty opening & closing mouth, ringing in the ears, tingling in the fingers, and other problems.

Common Locations of Headache PainThere are many causes of TMD such as grinding of teeth, injury to the jaw, and emotional stress. A very common cause of TMD is a bad bite. When teeth are missing, out of alignment, or worn away, the teeth cannot come together evenly. This forces the jaw to shift position and the muscles to work harder then they ideally should to bring the teeth together. You bring your teeth together to swallow thousands of times a day. If your bite is out of alignment, this can cause constant muscle tension which leads to muscle fatigue, spasms, and pain. This constant strain on the muscles can also pull the disc that cushions the jaw joint out of position. When this happens the bones of the jaw joint can rub against each other and the nerves causing pain and damaging the joint.  

TMD is a treatable. Dr. Cook will perform a thorough examination to help determine the cause and develop a treatment plan. This examination may include a complete neuromuscular evaluation using advanced equipment to measure facial muscle activity using ElectroMyoGraphy (EMG), jaw movement and range of motion using a Computerized Mandibular Scanner (CMS), and sound/vibration analysis of the TM joint using ElectroSonoGraphy (ESG).

After Dr. Cook performs a neuromuscular analysis, she will relax your facial muscles using a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator (TENS). This TENS unit is a true simultaneous 4 channel bi-lateral stimulator designed specifically to create a physiologically relaxed state of the muscles of mastication.

After completing a neuromuscular K7 CMS Scanworkup and TENSing, Dr. Cook will determine your optimal bite and have a custom bite splint (called an orthotic) made. You will wear this orthotic for several months to relax the muscles, restore balance to the jaw joint, and stabilize the bite. Once your bite has been stabilized with the orthotic, Dr. Cook can permanently correct your bite by replacing missing teeth, moving teeth with orthodontic treatment, or place crowns and veneers on all of the teeth. For many patients the custom orthotic serves as a long-term solution.

Dr. Cook studied neuromuscular dentistry at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI) and obtained Fellowship status from LVI in July 2011.

Many of Dr. Cook’s TMD patients have told us that they suffered from migraines, headaches, and other pains for years and that they had gone to physicians, chiropractors, and specialists only to be told that they could not find a cause for their pain. Some were even told that their pain was probably psychosomatic!

TMD treatment can be life changing. If you think you might be suffering from TMD, please call and we will be happy to go over diagnosis and treatment options with you.