The foundation to every smile, bite/occlusion is the TMJ or temoporo-mandibular joint being stable. Dr. Brown looks at all TMJs first before beginning orthodontic treatment with the use of CBCT (3D x-rays) technology along with looking at each patient’s health history. Patients that have TMD (or temporomandibular dysfunction) is pain, bone changes, lock-jaw of the TMJ can be treated with phase I splint therapy. The splint is a working appliance that is used to diagnose the issue through removing a patient’s bite and allowing facial muscles to relax and alleviate pain. Treatment or use of the splint is generally capped at 8 months (with frequent visit) – we see results in that time period. When the muscles relax, the patient’s true occlusion will display itself and a patient will be ready generally for the second phase: orthodontic treatment, a permanent splint, or an occlusal adjustment. This protocol has resolved symptoms or pain in 95%+ percent of our TMD patients.
Treatment does not guarantee pain relief though in certain complex cases and referral to an oral surgeon for surgical intervention could be needed in this small percentage of patients.