Phase I Temporomandibular Dysfunction Treatment
Phase I and Phase II TMJ Dysfunction treatment are totally different and must not be confused. Phase I treatment is dedicated to eliminating pain and finding the most comfortable bite position for the patient. Phase II seeks to modify the existing teeth in the bad bite to the new comfortable bite in the correct jaw position.
The initial goal of Phase I TMJ Dysfunction treatment is to eliminate the patient's TMJ pain and/or other related problems that the patient is suffering with. In most cases, TMJ Dysfunction patients first arrive in pain. They typically have temporal headaches which are located on the side of the head behind and just above the eyes. The pain can also extended to behind the eyes. For this reason, many physicians and dentists confuse TMJ Dysfunction with Migraine. TMJ Dysfunction and migraine are not at all the same and have two separate and very different treatment protocols. Treating TMJ Dysfunction with migraine medications is not the correct path to follow.
Ninety percent of TMJ Dysfunction pain comes from muscle pain. Dr. Padolsky has developed a TMJ Program that specifically addresses the muscular pain and in most cases, patients feel significantly better within a few weeks. However, relieving the muscular pain does not correct the bad bite and does not correct the improperly positioned jaw joints.
Our office separates out Phase I TMJ Dysfunction treatment into two (2) parts, A and B. Phase I - A TMJ Dysfunction treatment begins with a soft mandibular pain reduction dental appliance that is usually worn for two to six weeks. In addition, the TMJ patient is placed on a TMJ Program that involves diet and lifestyle modifications to help eliminate muscle dysfunction and improve muscular health. An important purpose of Phase I - A is to prepare the TMJ patient for the hard acrylic jaw repositioning appliance. Many TMJ patients are not able tolerate the hard appliance when it is placed in the mouth while the patient is in pain.
After the patient is comfortable, Phase I - B TMJ Dysfunction treatment begins. Phase I - B begins with the construction of a hard repositioning appliance that aligns the jaws and better positions the jaw joints. This phase of care is both an art and a science. Both the patient and the dentist work together to determine the "sweet spot" position of the lower jaw for that patient. When the "sweet spot" is found, most patients experience multiple improvements in their health.
It is very important that all TMJ Dysfunction patients fully understand that they have a " bad bite ". This means that when they first came into the office and bit into their teeth, the teeth forced one or both temporomandibular joints into unhealthy positions. As a result of this bad bite the patient was in pain. When the TMJ Dysfunction patients bites down into the hard jaw repositioning appliance both temporomandibular joints are repositioned into their correct positions which are different from the natural unhealthy bite.
At the successful end of Phase I - B TMJ Dysfunction treatment, the patient is happy and healthy and knows that jaw position that the hard repositioning appliance puts the temporomandibular joints into really is the best jaw position. The problem now is that the Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction patient's do NOT fit together when the jaws are correctly positioned so the next phase of Temporomandibular Dysfunction treatment is aimed at getting the teeth to touch together in the new healthy jaw position. It's called Phase II TMJ Dysfunction treatment. Phase II TMJ Dysfunction treatment is not part of Phase I. They occur at different times, often are performed by different doctors and both have separate and different costs.
Dr. Mark Allan Padolsky is an Atlanta TMJ Dentist who enjoys helping his patients find their cause of TMJ problems. Of course, you are welcome to join his family of patients. He offers both initial ( Phase 1 ) TMJ treatment and can also restore the bite if a patient desires it ( Phase 2) of his TMJ program. If you have a TMJ problem and would like schedule a TMJ consultation with Dr. Padolsky, please call 404-876-8123 to schedule your appointment.