Tmj Disorders

TMJ Disorder Treatment in Columbia, MO


The acronym TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joints, the combination hinge and sliding joints that allow our lower jaw to move. Since the early 1980's, Dr. Ogden has maintained a special interest in the diagnosis and conservative (non-surgical) treatment of problems that occur with TMJ disorders (TMD's).

Problems with the TMJ's are as numerous and varied as with other joints, such as knees, hips, and shoulders. The TMJ's are unique only in their complexity and the fact that one end of their range of motion is determined by the way the teeth fit together.

Until 1990, when we were first able to image these joints with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), most diagnosis and treatment directed toward problems was guesswork at best. In 1991, Dr. Ogden worked with neuroradiologist Vijay Sadhu, MD, at Boone Hospital Center to develop the first imaging protocol in Columbia. Over the course of several years, we imaged hundreds of joints and learned a great deal about the inner workings of these previously misunderstood body parts.

Most joint problems involve, or at least begin with, the articular disc, a structure made of dense fibrous connective tissue residing between the lower jaw and its socket and attached by small ligaments. Overuse (such as chewing gum), injury due to trauma, and normal wear and tear can take a toll on the disc and its attachments, sometimes eventually leading to arthritis.

Joint sounds, such as clicking or popping, are among the first signs of a damaged disc. Intermittent catching or locking are more serious precursors to permanent joint changes, which will often lead to serious bite problems as well.

While structural change within the joints is relatively irreversible, painful symptoms can usually be managed by eliminating harmful habits and reducing both the duration and severity of clenching the teeth during sleep if that is a factor, through the use of certain medications and/or properly designed appliances. Often, just knowing what the problem is, and what to do or avoid doing, are enough to manage any difficulties you may have.

We see TMJ patients on Thursday mornings, separate from our dental patients, so that enough time can be taken to thoroughly evaluate and understand your problem, and to help you make choices about any treatment we can provide. Many of our TMJ patients are referred by physicians and other dentists, and in most cases we encourage you to continue your dental care with your regular dentist.

Note: The diagnosis and treatment of TMJ problems is not a specialty area recognized by the American Dental Association and requires no formal training to promote or advertise this service.

For more information on TMJ Disorder, call Ogden Dental in Columbia, MO at (573) 449-7483!

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