Call (808) 526-0670

What is TMJ?

TMJ (Temporo Mandibular Joint) problems, which are also referred to as TMD – Temporal Mandibular Dysfunction, CMD – Cranio Mandibular Dysfunction and MPD – Myofacial Pain Dysfunction afflict more than 40 million Americans.

TMJ stands for Temporal Mandibular Joint. The TMJs are the two joints in the front of the ears that attach the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull (fossa). Not only do the jaw joints rotate as other ball-and-socket joints, they move up and down and also backwards and forward.

When one or both joints are displaced or aren’t functioning properly, a series of problems generally occur. TMD presents problems ranging from mild discomfort such as popping and clicking of the jaw to debilitating pain such as headaches, ear, neck and back pain. A host of additional signs and symptoms are listed below.

"Determining a Correct Jaw Position"

We’ve had good results in treating our patients from a neuromuscular perspective. Because TMJ and TMD are treated medically and dentally, we hope this information will help you understand your condition from one aspect of diagnosis and treatment.

Dennis Nagata, D.D.S. places great emphasis in a preventative approach to dental health including the areas of gum health, jaw posture, occlusion, muscle balance, teeth appearance and nutrition.

Our philosophy for treating TMJ or TMD is based on a neuromuscular approach in determining the “optimum jaw positioning” to achieve harmony between teeth and facial muscles. This addresses the dynamic relationships related to the physiologic range of motion and body posture.

Today’s technology allows us the ability to objectively measure muscle function and correlate it to a proper jaw posture and its movements in function. With the correct positioning of the jaw, pain associated with TMJ and TMD can be minimized or often times eliminated.

Because TMJ and TMD is treated both medically and dentally, Dr. Nagata will work cooperatively with other health professionals (such as physical therapists, chiropractors, physicians, osteopaths, neurologists, psychologists) in treating your particular problem.

What causes the TMJs to be displaced or malfunction?

  • Misalignment of teeth, sometimes called a “bad bite.”
  • Head and neck muscle imbalance due to poor posture.
  • Grinding or clenching of teeth causing stress and friction to the joint.
  • An injury to head or neck such as whiplash.

When your teeth are improperly aligned, your entire posture is compensated. Specific symptoms caused by a poor postured bite includes:

  • Numbing and tingling sensation in one hand
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Jaw, back, neck, shoulder pain
  • Difficulty in clearing the ears
  • Unevenly positioned shoulders
  • Pant legs hemmed to different lengths
  • Heels wear unevenly

Other common symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Swelling on the side of the face
  • Dizziness
  • Clenching/bruxing
  • Jaw locking open or closed
  • Tingling in fingers and hands
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Visual disturbances

Our Treatment Protocol
Neuromuscular Dentistry emphasizes the need to establish an occlusion based upon:

  • The optimal position and function of the temporomandibular joints and
  • The optimal resting posture and function of the masticatory muscles.

Computerized diagnostics make it possible to accurately find a physiologic position that meets the parameters of each individual patient.

  • Computerized jaw tracking instrumentation - is used to record jaw movements, range of motion, path of closure, protrusive guidance, rest positions, habitual centric occlusion, and determine freeway space.
  • Electromyography -is used to monitor the muscles in function.
  • Sonography - records jaw joint sounds and helps detect abnormalities.
  • Myo-monitor (low frequency TENS) - is used to relax the hyperactive facial muscles.
  • Tomography - are special x-rays of the jaw joints to evaluate the jaw joint condition and position.

A comprehensive analysis and evaluation is highly recommended to assist the doctor in accurately diagnosing and developing a treatment plan that can best meet your needs for long term optimal dental health and comfort!

The key to a successful treatment begins with an accurate diagnosis.
Our initial consult is complimentary.

This initial meeting is for us to get to know each other. We will discuss your TMJ /TMD condition, pain symptoms and contributing factors. Discuss your medical history and find out how we can help you. Please call our office for an appointment.

| return to top |

1520 Liliha St, Suite 703 | Honolulu, HI 96817-0670
Ph: 808.526.0670 | Fx: 808.536.3116

© Hawaii Center for Cosmetic & Laser Dentistry®. All rights reserved.