Accurate TMJ Diagnosis
Successful TMJ treatment begins with an accurate diagnosis. Dr. Klein and Dr. Witkow take the time to make sure they’re accurately diagnosing your condition.
The first step in TMJ diagnosis is listening. Our doctors will listen to your description of your symptoms and the development of your condition. He will ask questions to make sure he understands your medical history, including earlier injuries and treatments that might have impacted your current condition.
Drs. Witkow and Klein will perform a physical exam, which might include touching (palpating) areas where symptoms occur. He might ask you to move your jaw and/or head in certain ways.
As part of the diagnosis, we might recommend imaging that can reveal the structure and condition of your jaw joints. Types of imaging used might include:
- CT scan
Each imaging technology has a different purpose. X-rays and CT scans are good for looking at the hard tissue (bones) in your jaw joint. MRI and ultrasound provide better looks at your soft tissue, including muscles and the cartilage disc supposed to cushion the bones from grinding against each other. Our TMJ dentists will go over the images in detail to help you understand the condition of your jaw joint.
Once you both understand the condition of your jaw joint, we will propose a personalized comprehensive treatment plan. When you accept the treatment plan, treatment will start.
Types of TMJ Treatment
A wide range of TMJ treatments are available. However, we prefer a conservative approach to TMJ treatment. Using noninvasive and minimally invasive approaches, Dr. Klein can often help people get TMJ relief with a low risk of side effects or complications.
Common TMJ treatments Dr. Klein prefers include:
- Orthotic (mouthguard) to hold your jaw in place
- Physical therapy
- Behavioral therapy
- Trigger point injections
Often a combination of treatments works best. Sometimes Dr. Klein will perform all treatments, but often you will benefit from a team approach. We partner with the Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness, and Dr. Jeffrey S. Haddad often works with Dr. Klein. In addition, Dr. Klein can recommend a treatment team for you or work with the care providers you recommend.
One cause of TMJ is that your jaw is unbalanced or can’t find a comfortable resting position. An orthotic can help with this. An orthotic is like a mouthguard for protecting your teeth. It does this, but it also helps hold your jaw in a comfortable, healthy position.
You will likely start out wearing your orthotic full-time, taking it out only for eating and cleaning your teeth. As your condition improves, you will switch to wearing the orthotic only at night, then only some nights.
Physical therapy helps relax, condition, and comfort sore jaw muscles. Physical therapy could be exercises, physical massaging of the area around the joint, and heat applications.
In addition, Dr. Klein uses TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation). TENS uses electric stimulation to help your muscles relax. It’s almost like getting them to massage themselves. For some people, periodic TENS sessions are enough to bring TMJ relief.
Behavioral therapy for TMJ focuses on helpful guidance to avoid harmful daily habits that worsen TMJ. It also includes guidance on how to develop healthy habits to prevent the return of TMJ symptoms. Behavioral therapy might be informal with Dr. Klein offering advice, or it might be a referral to a behavioral therapist.
In addition, if Dr. Klein suspects that anxiety, depression, or other psychological conditions contribute to TMJ, he may refer you to a psychologist for more dedicated treatment.
Trigger Point Injection
Trigger point injection involves using a very small amount of anesthetic at the true source of pain. The anesthetic makes the injection more comfortable, but the needle itself performs most of the work of deactivating your trigger points.
Trigger point injection is a skilled technique that is hard to master. Dr. Klein learned it from one of the pioneers of the technique, Janet Travell, physician to former President John F. Kennedy. Practicing the technique for decades, Dr. Klein has become very proficient and capable of using it to relieve TMJ pain.
TMJ Treatment in Detroit
If you are looking for relief from TMJ symptoms in the Detroit area, let TMJ dentists Dr. Richard Klein and Dr. Chad Witkow and his skilled team at the Michigan Head & Neck Institute help. Please call (586) 573-0438 or use our online contact form today to request an appointment at our office in Detroit, MI.