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Using Technology to treat our TMJ Disorder Patients

Dr. Mary Blakeley is passionate about helping patients with Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)—also referred to as TMJ Disorder. In addition to undergoing extensive post-graduate training in neuromuscular dentistry and specifically the treatment of TMD, Dr. Blakeley has invested in the latest technology to aide in effectively treating her patients.

While headaches or migraines are the most common symptom of TMD, other signs and symptoms can include jaw joint pain or noise, limited opening, ringing in the ears and locking in the jaw. Patients who suffer from TMD are often faced with daily, chronic pain and other options for treatment often include prescription pain medication or surgery.

In her extensive study of neuromuscular dentistry, Dr. Blakeley has focused on the correlation between the patient’s occlusion (i.e. how their bite comes together) and TMD symptoms. Physiologically, if a person’s bite doesn’t come together in the most ideal way, either from the result of genetics or an accident, it can put additional stress on the TM Joint and produce painful symptoms. While not every patient who suffers from TMD has a “bad bite”, there are many people who may find relief by fixing their occlusion. TMD often means there is a discrepancy between where your teeth come together and where your muscles want to be therefore Dr. Blakeley works to find the position where the teeth, joint and muscles are in harmony. By adjusting teeth so they meet in the ideal position, whether through an orthotic, orthodontics or dental restorations, the stress on the TM Joint could lessen and reduce or eliminate painful symptoms.

To determine if the patient’s TMD symptoms are possibly the result of a “bad bite”, Dr. Blakeley must first determine what the patient’s ideal occlusion is. To do so, she uses a K7 Computerized Mandibular Scanner (CMS) and Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulus (TENS) to measure and record objective information about the patient’s TM joint.

The K7 CMS uses 3 non-intrusive technologies to gather and measure data—jaw tracking (tracks motion), surface electromyography (measures TM joint muscle activity) and joint sonography (assesses joint function through the use of vibration/sound).

TENSing provides a tiny electrical stimulus that travels through nerves that control the muscles of the head and neck. This causes the muscles to exercise mildly, forcing out accumulated waste products of metabolism and providing the muscles with fresh nutrients and oxygen. Any persistent muscle tension that may be present can then be relaxed to find an optimum bite position.

In addition to the use of the K7 and TENS, Dr. Blakeley also has her patients undergo a 3-dimensional x-ray called cone beam computed tomography (CBCT). The CBCT scan provides high-resolution images to allow examination of the TM Joint anatomy, specifically the bone and joint space. The CBCT scan is done at Willow Creek Dental and only takes a few minutes to complete.

After the patient’s information has been gathered, measured and assessed, Dr. Blakeley is then able to recommend a course of treatment. The same technology is then used throughout the patient’s treatment to evaluate progress and determine its effectiveness.

If you or someone you know is suffering from TMD symptoms and would like to find out if you are a candidate for our TMJ Therapy program, contact our office at 303-779-2797 to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Blakeley.

Source: willowcreekdds.com Blog

6 Reasons you may need X-rays at the Dentist

The next time you go to the dentist, you may need to have x-rays taken. Dental x-rays are pictures of the teeth, bone and surrounding soft tissue that allow the dentist to help diagnose problems with the teeth, mouth and jaw. Most offices, like Willow Creek Dental, use digital x-rays rather than the traditional film x-rays you may remember in years past. Digital x-rays produce significantly less radiation, are more comfortable for the patient, and provide higher quality images compared to their film predecessors.

There are several reasons why dental x-rays may be necessary at your next appointment:

  • You are in pain—If you are visiting the dentist because you are having a toothache or other dental pain, the dentist will most likely request that a periapical (PA) x-ray be taken of the tooth that is bothering you. A PA is an x-ray of a single tooth that shows from the top of the exposed tooth to the bottom of the tooth root and surrounding bone. This x-ray helps the dentist see decay, locate an abscess or determine what else may be causing the pain.

 

  • You are going for a regular check-up—If you visit the dentist for a cleaning every 6 months, you will most likely have bitewing x-rays taken every other appointment (once a year). Bitewing x-rays show the upper and lower back teeth, allowing the dentist to look for decay between the teeth that is not visible to the naked eye or not yet causing pain. It can also show the effects of gum disease in the form of bone loss.

 

  • This is your first visit to a new dentist—If you are a new patient to a dental office, they will most likely request that a full mouth series of x-rays be taken (FMX). The FMX is a series of 18 x-rays that includes bitewings and periapical x-rays. This gives the dentist a clear view of each tooth and allows them to look for decay and bone loss. Typically, an FMX is taken every 3 – 5 years and gives the dentist a good baseline to compare future x-rays to. If you have had an FMX taken in recent years, you may request that the images be sent electronically to the new office. If the x-rays are outdated (on film) or not of good quality, however, the dentist may request to have a new FMX taken.

 

  • You still have your wisdom teeth—If you still have your wisdom teeth (3rd molars), the dentist may request that a panoramic x-ray be taken. This x-ray shows all of the teeth in the entire mouth, including teeth that have not yet erupted. If your wisdom teeth are present (either fully erupted or still impacted in your bone), your dentist may recommend that they be removed to prevent future problems such as difficulty brushing and flossing or simply lack of space in your mouth. The dentist or oral surgeon will use the panoramic x-ray to look at the wisdom teeth, their level of impaction and angle to determine how extensive or difficult the tooth removal process will be.

 

  • You are considering orthodontics—Whether you or your child are considering orthodontics, the dentist will need to take a panoramic x-ray to look at the position and form of the teeth to decide if orthodontic treatment is advisable and which course of treatment would be most effective (i.e. traditional orthodontics, Invisalign, etc.). Even for children as young as seven, the orthodontist can look at the panoramic x-ray to see how future permanent teeth will erupt and also determine a timetable as to when to ideally start orthodontic treatment. It can also help them decide if baby teeth should be removed to make room for the permanent teeth to come in.

 

  • You need Dental Implants, have Obstructive Sleep Apnea or suffer from TMJ Disorder—If you fall into any of these categories, you will need to have a Cone Beam CT (CBCT) x-ray taken. CT imaging provides clear images of the bone, soft tissue, muscle, airway and blood vessels to allow our doctors to look at a complete picture when planning for dental implants and treating patients for Obstructive Sleep Apnea or TMJ Disorder. Willow Creek Dental has a CBCT machine in our office, something not typically found in most dental offices.

 

So the next time you are told you need to have x-rays taken, know that your oral health is the top priority and there is always a sound reason for the request.

Source: willowcreekdds.com Blog

Using Technology to treat our TMJ Disorder Patients

Dr. Mary Blakeley has become passionate about helping patients with Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)—also referred to as TMJ Disorder. In addition to undergoing extensive post-graduate training in neuromuscular dentistry and specifically the treatment of TMD, Dr. Blakeley has invested in the latest technology to aide in effectively treating her patients.

While headaches or migraines are the most common symptom of TMD, other signs and symptoms can include jaw joint pain or noise, limited opening, ringing in the ears and locking in the jaw. Patients who suffer from TMD are often faced with daily, chronic pain and other options for treatment often include prescription pain medication or surgery.

In her extensive study of neuromuscular dentistry, Dr. Blakeley has focused on the correlation between the patient’s occlusion (i.e. how their bite comes together) and TMD symptoms. Physiologically, if a person’s bite doesn’t come together in the most ideal way, either from the result of genetics or an accident, it can put additional stress on the TM Joint and produce painful symptoms. While not every patient who suffers from TMD has a “bad bite”, there are many people who may find relief by fixing their occlusion. TMD often means there is a discrepancy between where your teeth come together and where your muscles want to be therefore Dr. Blakeley works to find the position where the teeth, joint and muscles are in harmony. By adjusting teeth so they meet in the ideal position, whether through an orthotic, orthodontics or dental restorations, the stress on the TM Joint could lessen and reduce or eliminate painful symptoms.

To determine if the patient’s TMD symptoms are possibly the result of a “bad bite”, Dr. Blakeley must first determine what the patient’s ideal occlusion is. To do so, she uses a K7 Computerized Mandibular Scanner (CMS) and Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulus (TENS) to measure and record objective information about the patient’s TM joint.

The K7 CMS uses 3 non-intrusive technologies to gather and measure data—jaw tracking (tracks motion), surface electromyography (measures TM joint muscle activity) and joint sonography (assesses joint function through the use of vibration/sound).

TENSing provides a tiny electrical stimulus that travels through nerves that control the muscles of the head and neck. This causes the muscles to exercise mildly, forcing out accumulated waste products of metabolism and providing the muscles with fresh nutrients and oxygen. Any persistent muscle tension that may be present can then be relaxed to find an optimum bite position.

In addition to the use of the K7 and TENS, Dr. Blakeley also has her patients undergo a 3-dimensional x-ray called cone beam computed tomography (CBCT). The CBCT scan provides high-resolution images to allow examination of the TM Joint anatomy, specifically the bone and joint space. The CBCT scan is done at Willow Creek Dental and only takes a few minutes to complete.

After the patient’s information has been gathered, measured and assessed, Dr. Blakeley is then able to recommend a course of treatment. The same technology is then used throughout the patient’s treatment to evaluate progress and determine its effectiveness.

If you or someone you know is suffering from TMD symptoms and would like to find out if you are a candidate for our TMJ Therapy program, contact our office at 303-779-2797 to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Blakeley.

Source: willowcreekdds.com Blog