As you may have imagined, before you can be given any type of TMJ treatment you will need to be examined by Dr. Berry. He will consider your dental history, past treatment types, along with a precise oral evaluation of your teeth, jaw, and other parts. Part of your first-time visit will include the sophisticated TENS unit. When you come into our office, Dr. Berry will analyze your occlusion (how your teeth come together) and how hard your jaw has to work to open, to close, and to just hold still.
After he has a good baseline reading, he will connect you with a TENS unit. This device sends electrical impulses to the nerves in your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) as a way to relax tense jaw muscles to allow diagnosis and treatment of your TMJ symptoms. The TENS system is completely painless so there is no need to have fear or anxiety over using it. Once your jaw joints are in a relaxed position, Dr. Berry will then reevaluate the balance of your bite in its relaxed state and to find the ideal at-rest position for your bite.
Another sophisticated piece of technology Dr. Berry uses to assess your jaw is the iCat Cone Beam Imaging system. This device uses a unique method of taking multiple x-rays from multiple angles all focused on a single point, like the joint in your jaw. This system maps out your jaw much like a CAT scan, but with significantly less radiation. This allows Dr. Berry to see a highly detailed 3-D image of what your jaw looks like and how it is sitting.
Armed with this information, he will identify which type of TMJ treatment would best put and keep your jaw in a proper position. At that point he will explain your options:
Most TMJ-related pain comes from your muscles. For some people, using a TENS periodically can control muscle pain. We can do this in our office, but TENS units are also available for home use. We will train you on how to use them safely and effectively.
Whether you’re doing TENS in our office or at home, it’s a good idea to come in for regular checkups to make sure the treatment is really achieving your treatment goals.
Use of the neuromuscular appliance requires Dr. Berry to take a full-mouth impression of your teeth and bite while they are in the at-rest, ideal position that enables your jaw to be balanced and aligned. The neuromuscular appliance, called an orthotic or sometimes commonly referred to as a “bite splint“, will be worn as a way to retrain your jaw’s muscles to close to a new ideal position. For some patients, this appliance works perfectly and is all that is required treatment-wise. Overtime patients can slowly wean off using the appliance. At first, you will wear it all day. By three months, most people can switch to wearing it just at night. Some people might get to a point where they no longer need the orthotic. However, this is on a patient-by-patient basis so your outcome may be different from the next TMJ patient.
Orthotic to Neuromuscular Orthodontics
For those patients in need of a long-term option for proper TMJ treatment, switching from the orthotic to using neuromuscular orthodontics is often ideal. Orthodontics (braces) will help permanently move the patient’s bite into the new ideal position. Braces will be carefully placed on the teeth to reposition as required. Dr. Kevin Berry has studied orthodontics. He understands how they work, but he prefers to refer most orthodontic work to an orthodontist. He feels his patients benefit from working with a specialist.
Orthotic to Neuromuscular Orthodontics with Reconstruction
Depending on your dental condition you may or may not require dental reconstruction along with the use of orthodontics. Reconstruction usually means the placement of dental crowns and/or porcelain veneers. We only consider this advisable when your teeth have been damaged by TMJ. However, some people are very happy with this approach. It is a permanent fix that not only corrects the bite but provides for a better smile. It’s a 2-for-1 deal! Who wouldn’t want to have a smile that not only feels good but also looks good too!? There’s nothing better than a balanced bite accompanied by a beautiful full smile!
Come To Dr. Berry for Proven TMJ Treatment
As a highly trained neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Berry offers TMJ treatment that gets results! Don’t hesitate to call us with questions or better yet, to schedule an appointment; just call our Denver office at (303) 691-0267 or book an appointment online.