If You Have TMD, It May be Time for a Joint Vibration Analysis

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Symptoms of temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) may be tricky to identify, but the typical issues it presents with are pain and noise in the jaw that affects speaking and chewing. TMD left untreated can become disruptive to your daily routine, causing significant pain and discomfort. Sangiv I. Patel, D.D.S., PA frequently assesses, diagnoses, and treats TMD with the latest dental technologies. His office is in Melbourne, FL where he serves patients throughout the surrounding area for a wide variety of dental and medical needs.

What is temporomandibular joint dysfunction?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the connection between the jaw and the skull that allows the mouth to open and close for chewing and speaking. When the TMJ experiences damage or breakdown from injury, this can result in temporomandibular joint dysfunction or disorder (TMD). TMD can be extremely painful and restrict the jaw’s ability to open and close properly.

What causes TMD?

TMD generally occurs when there is an injury to the TMJ. Common causes for TMD may include:

  • Trauma injury to the jaw

  • Grinding the teeth

  • Clenching the teeth (bruxism)

  • Dental misalignment or dental malocclusion

Less common causes for TMD are specific medical conditions, such as a tumor in the jawbone or arthritis. Dr. Sangiv I. Patel assists his patients in identifying the symptoms of TMD and the root causes to provide them with the best treatment path.

How is TMD diagnosed?

Dr. Patel conducts initial examinations that include collecting your personal information, including concerns and medical history. He will then assess the general movement of your jaw and inspect the joints for tenderness or inflammation. To obtain an accurate diagnosis and determine the underlying cause, Dr. Patel may use any of the following assessment tools:

  • Electromyography (EMG): used to evaluate muscle activity and contractions

  • Bite Analysis (T-Scan Digital Bite Analysis): used to test for a misaligned bite

  • Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibition Tension Suppression System: used to assess jaw clenching

  • Joint Vibration Analysis (JVA): to analyze joint sounds

What is Joint Vibration Analysis?

Joint Vibration Analysis utilizes specialized software and accelerometers to analyze the sounds made by joint motion in the jaw. A headset that is like earphones is placed over the temporomandibular joints and the accelerometers capture sound made by the joints rubbing together. A healthy TMJ joint should move smoothly with little to no sound. If the joint is injured or misaligned, this causes increased friction, which will enhance the sound. A Joint Vibration Analysis is useful for picking up popping sounds in the jaw that the human ear cannot hear without amplification.

Can TMD go away on its own?

Mild cases of TMD can often resolve on their own with proper rest. However, patients who are experiencing persistent or frequent symptoms of TMD should obtain a professional examination and treatment as soon as possible to prevent future complications or chronic pain.

What treatments are available for TMD?

Once Dr. Patel diagnoses TMD, there are multiple treatment options depending on the patient’s personal goals and the severity of their symptoms:

  • Mouth or night guards to prevent teeth grinding

  • Diet modifications: liquid or soft food diet

  • Habit modification: avoid biting nails

  • Heat packs applied to the jaw

  • Prescription or over-the-counter medication to relax jaw muscles and reduce inflammation

  • Relaxation techniques

  • TMD surgery

For patients with TMD, it is essential to attend follow-up dental appointments to let Dr. Patel know if current treatment plans are proving to be effective or if you need to go with a different treatment approach.

Does dental insurance cover TMD diagnosis and treatment?

Some dental insurance policies will provide partial coverage for TMD diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Patel’s office will contact your insurance provider and help you ascertain any out-of-pocket costs prior to the initial consultation.

How to learn more about TMD and the latest treatment options

If you reside in or around Melbourne, FL and are living with distracting symptoms of TMD, contact Sangiv I. Patel, D.D.S., PA, and schedule an appointment today. Dr. Sangiv I.Patel will provide a detailed examination, identify the root cause of your symptoms, and create a personalized treatment plan so that you can get on with your daily routine.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.