The Tempero-Mandibular joints (TMJ) connect your lower jaw to your skull and are located in front of your ears. They enable you to open and close your mouth and move it from side to side. Tempero-mandibular dysfunction (TMD) refers to improper functioning of these joints, nerves and muscles associated with it. Left untreated, normal joint function will deteriorate and have a negative impact on your health and quality of life.
A proper diagnosis is essential in understanding and treating TMD. A comprehensive consultation includes a detailed history, x-rays, photos, impressions and examination of the mouth. Your diagnosis, unique treatment plan and cost estimate will be discussed and explained in detail.
Treatment may vary from symptomatic relief with a splint to comprehensive treatment involving the development of your jaws and changing your bite permanently with TMJ orthodontics. Treatment duration is case specific, but can range from 6 to 18 months.
Sometimes a team approach is needed in treating all the problems associated with TMD, e.g. physiotherapists, chiropractors, ENT surgeons, etc.
Athletes and sporting professionals can benefit from wearing a Neuromuscular splint or mouthguard because by supporting the jaw in its optimal position results in improved vertebrae alignment, better balance and increased upper body strength. This may increase athletic performance and limit non-contact injuries.
Dr Albertyn Potgieter has a special interest in this field of Neuromuscular dentistry and is one of only a few dentists in the country who possess the skills and special training to assess your jaw problem and create a treatment plan that could free you of the symptoms you may have been suffering from for years, if not decades.
He practices in Uitenhage, but has also extended his services to Port Elizabeth in our Walmer and Summerstrand branches. You can contact him now for more information or to schedule an appointment.