General warning: What must NOT be done under TMD, yet is still being done

Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

Over the last decades, some of the treatments offered to TMD sufferers have been proven to be useless, irrelevant or even more damaging. Every affected person should know the worst pitfalls out there. Therefore, we list them here, and if you want to know more, you can reach out to us.

1. Injections into the jaw joints of any kind

Jaw joints are naturally sterile, no needle fully is. Therefore, “wash-outs” or “arthrocentesis” procedures are a bad choice as your jaw joints are not dirty and do not require cleaning. On the contrary, as they are sterile, injections of any sort introduce foreign material into the jaw, potentially creating more serious issues. Probing of jaw joints using needles should not be done either. There are better ways to get to know what’s going on.

2. Orthodontic treatment

Braces or aligners might give you artificially straight looking teeth, yet those are very different from a naturally good bite. Orthodontic treatment may give you a more  “beautiful” smile, but it comes at a price. It causes the jawbones to move downwards, the maxilla to drop clockwise, and this causes the mandible to retrude, hence pressuring the jaw and neck joints. Apart from the fact that orthodontistry is irreversible, and even contraindicated in cases of TMD according to the American Dental Association, there are many other reasons for not having it done.

3. Prosthodontic treatment without diagnosis or test-drive

Oftentimes, the so called “full mouth rehabs” are being offered to TMD sufferers. That’s not the thing to do. More often than not the jaw and neck joints are not being taken into account, neither in terms of diagnosis, nor treatment. Large prostho treatments could be the very last step after test-driving a bite for an extended period of time but this requires much caution and knowledge beforehand.

4. Night “guards”, inadequate “splints”

TMD is not being caused by “clenching” or “grinding”. The latter are consequences of TMD. Simply protecting the enamel via some kind of plastic is not the thing to do as it often worsens breathing, the airway and body coordination, creating more problems for you. Not rarely do “splints” worsen jaw joint compression. Everything you put in between your teeth over an extended period of time must be carefully handled as it shifts structures, not only teeth, irreversibly.

5. Shaving of teeth or “disclusion time reduction”

These are irreversible procedures that compress the jaw joints even more. They are not an adequate kind of treatment by any means. Horror stories are numerous, so this kind of invasive treatment must be dismissed. Don’t do it. No matter what you do, don’t do it, you got us?

6. Jaw surgery without proper diagnosis

Such an operation is very invasive, and irreversible. Jaw joint “replacements” are mechanically very different from natural jaw joints. They don’t have the best prospects in the long-run, and the materials of these artificial joints are known to cause allergies. Advancement surgery of the jawbones often does not take into account the jaw joints, so that any result regarding the jaw joints is often pure coincidence. Could get better, could stay the same, could get worse. That’s gambling, right?

So what’s the right thing to do then? –Well, this depends on your personal problem and situation. There is no cookie-cutter solution. If you want to know more, contact us (jawandneckjoint@gmail.com) and we can arrange a meeting for your needs.

(c) jaw-joint.com 2022

What could have caused your TMD?

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash

Many different causes have been identified and discussed within the scientific literature. Hence, TMD is often called a multifactorial disease. But is that true? Or can we name a specific root cause? Contradictions within the medical community are clearly evident to anyone who has been in the field. What is being suggested by one branch, is often being contested by another, and is the exact opposite of what is being suggested by still other third parties.

Parts of dentistry and orthodontistry claim that a genetically induced malocclusion was the main culprit. That means that you would have inherited the problem from your ancestors, like in the typical example of saying someone has “dad’s big teeth” and “mom’s small jaws”. Therefore, these parts of medicine suggest their appliances and procedures such as braces or aligners, or splitting sutures and orthognathic surgery to be the solution. But did your parents or grandparents have your exact same problem? And did you know that here is a branch of alternative dentistry that claims TMD is being caused by wrong prosthodontic or orthodontic work?—They indeed think that an alteration of your bite has caused your TMD. They therefore offer their splints, orthotics and full mouth rehabilitation ––as they call it––with crowns, onlays, or further orthodontic treatments to you.

In contrast to this, other parts of medicine claim that TMD was a psychosocial condition. Patients would grind their teeth, which was the cause for what they call bruxism. They suggest you to just relax, do psychotherapy, biofeedback or physiotherapy, and prescribe you what they call night guards to protect the tooth enamel from clenching. Then again other parts of medicine suggest that there was no identifiable cause at all, and that you would have to simply take large amounts of strong pain medication or even paralyze muscles via botox injections in a quest to eliminate what they call pain memory. But do you want to take opioids and NSAIDs for the rest of your life, eventually become in need of dialysis, and finally of a kidney or liver transplant in the future?

Again, other parts of medicine claim that the problem is in the jaw joints themselves. They suggest to you to do injections or wash outs called arthrocentesis, although there is no evidence to suggest that anyone’s jaw joints were dirty. On the contrary, jaw joints are naturally sterile and should not be opened with needles or other instruments. Often these surgeries lead to bigger surgeries, until you are asked to do a total joint replacement, although these operations are apparently not being done to reduce pain. At least this is what is explicitly written in the manufacturers’ brochures. Also, jaw joints prostheses do not allow you to fully move your jaw, like a natural jaw joint. For instance, you would be unable to jut your jaw forward, and the replacements are prone to fail over time. On top of that, allergies to the materials and other adverse reactions may occur. We don’t want to horrify you by naming names, but we want to suggest much more conservative ways of treatments based on a diagnosis of your root cause.

While each branch of medicine might be correct within the confines of their perspective, our own research suggests that TMD has one deep common root cause that sums up all the others. It is a distinctively altered anatomy with certain traits that are very common amongst sufferers, with individual variations of course. This is due to environmental influence––including that of medical procedures––, and lifestyle. We live our lives mostly indoors, don’t move much, eat soft foods, and often have allergies or breathing problems. Neck problems are very common, and they are intricately linked to TMD. While dental procedures often trigger and even exacerbate TMD, they are most likely not the deepest of deep root causes. It is not just about the bite or the occlusion. It has to do with how your teeth meet for sure, but what about the relationship of your jaws to the skull? How does your skull sit on top of the cervical spine? What about your way of breathing, swallowing and overall posture?

Neither must we simply look at teeth and boney structures, nor do we claim that TMD was solely muscular or nervous in nature. All of these systems are affected but the root cause lays deep down in your health and life history. Let us explore what is your cause, and find out specific treatment options for your problem.

(c) jaw-joint.com 2022