#155. 100 Anderson Road SE Calgary, Alberta T2J3V1 Monday –Thursday 7:00 am to 4:30 pm 403-278-1415

TMJ Treatment

Serving Calgary & nearby areas of Alberta

If you are suffering from the symptoms of TMJ / TMD in Calgary, call Dr. Steven Cload & Dr. Jennifer Silver at 403-278-1415 and schedule a neuromuscular dental evaluation today

The temporomandibular joint is the jaw joint. You can feel it if you place a finger in front of each ear and open and close your mouth. These joints are where the lower jaw (mandible) connects to the upper jaw (maxilla) - the fixed part of the skull.

The jaw joint is the most flexible joint in the body. It has three movement directions:

  • Up and down
  • Sideways
  • Forwards and back

When the jaw is misaligned, a host of painful and limiting symptoms may occur. These are related to TMD (alternately called TMJ), a broad term covering any temporomandibular joint disorder.

If you suspect you are suffering from TMJ, please contact South Centre Dental Clinic online or by calling our Calgary, Alberta office at 403-278-1415 to schedule a neuromuscular evaluation with experienced dentist Dr. Steven Cload.

  • What is TMJ & TMD?
  • What are the Risk Factors for TMJ?
  • What are the Symptoms of TMJ?
  • How is TMJ Diagnosed?
  • How is TMJ treated?


What is TMD? What is TMJ?

Temporomandibular joint disorder (abbreviated as TMJ or TMD) is not a single condition, but rather a number of conditions that are caused by jaw misalignment. This neuromuscular disorder often results in migraine-like headaches and other painful symptoms, yet remains one of the most commonly overlooked causes of chronic facial neck and shoulder pain.

It is not uncommon for TMD sufferers to visit their physician for help. This may result in prescriptions for painkillers, but any relief offered by medication can’t help but be temporary. Unless the underlying problem is addressed, TMJ pain will simply not go away.

Chronic pain can be debilitating. Calgary dentist Dr. Steven Cload can help. Come to our office for a neuromuscular consultation and we can see if TMJ is the likely cause of your pain.

TMJ Risk Factors

A “risk factor” is a condition that increases your chances of developing a disease or disorder. It is possible to have TMJ without having any of the risk factors discussed below, but the more risk factors you have, the more likely it is you will develop this disorder.

Some of the most common risk factors for TMJ include:

  • Misaligned bite
    • If your teeth are not in proper alignment, your jaw muscles will experience constant stress trying to shift your bite back into a manageable position, leading to TMJ.
  • Bruxism
    • Stress causes many people to habitually grind or clench their teeth at night, and sometimes even during the day. This constant wear can change the shape of your teeth and bite, eventually causing TMJ.
  • Jaw deformities
    • Some people are born with facial bone deformities that affect how their jaw functions and/or how their bite comes together.
  • Bad posture
    • If you suffer from bad posture due to a spinal misalignment or other issues with body mechanics and stability, TMJ is a common result.
  • Car Accidents
    • Following whiplash injuries in car accidents also known as MVAs patients can develop TMJ symptoms.
  • Arthritis
    • Certain arthritic conditions can damage the cartilage that lines your joints, changing and degrading bone, resulting in TMJ.
  • Synovitis
    • This condition involves inflammation of your synovial membrane, which lines the temporomandibular joint.
  • Jaw or facial injuries
    • TMJ can result any time one of your facial bones suffers a traumatic injury, such as a fracture or dislocation.
  • Gender
    • Women are three times more likely to develop TMJ than men.

If you have one or more of the risk factors above and suffer from known symptoms of TMJ, now is the time to schedule a consultation with Dr. Cload. During our complex neuromuscular disorder diagnosis process, we will thoroughly evaluate your condition, developing a treatment plan that will help you find relief from your symptoms.

Symptoms of TMD

TMJ Symptoms Calgary, AB

Many of the symptoms of TMD occur in and around the jaw. These include:

  • Clicking or popping noises when chewing
  • Grinding noises when moving the jaw
  • Pain and/or swelling around the jaw joint
  • Limited jaw movement
  • Complete lock jaw
  • Sleep Apnea

These symptoms may be constant or occasional, but their presence clearly indicates TMD. If you are struggling with any of these, call our Calgary office at 403-278-1415 to schedule a neuromuscular evaluation with Dr. Cload.

Running through the jaw is the trigeminal nerve – the largest of the cranial nerves – and it is pressure placed on this nerve from jaw misalignment that can cause many of the symptoms of TMD that occur outside of the immediate area of the jaw.

Issues that can be caused by TMD that may seem unrelated to the jaw joint include:

  • Chronic, migraine-style headaches
  • Tinnitus (ear ringing)
  • Ear pressure or pain without the presence of infection
  • Pressure behind the eyes
  • Generalized facial pain
  • Pain in the neck, shoulders, or back

TMD may also cause increased tooth sensitivity, difficulties swallowing and, when left undiagnosed and untreated, changes to your posture. Equally worrisome, the painful symptoms of TMD can last for years, becoming progressively worse with time. That is why the proper identification of your TMD symptoms is so very important.

Diagnosing TMJ

Symptoms of TMD - Calgaary, AB

Whether your condition is caused by trauma, arthritis, bad posture, misaligned bite, stress, a car accident or lifestyle factors, a neuromuscular examination at our Calgary dental office can be used to evaluate the likely cause of your pain.

To properly diagnose TMJ, Dr. Cload will use a combination of hands-on evaluation and advanced dental technology including:

  • Electromyography (EMG's)
    • Using small pads placed on your face and neck, we analyze the electrical activity within muscles associated with the posture of your jaw and neck. This helps us to see if they are fatigued and how each muscle group relates to not only your jaw alignment but also your posture. Yes the way you stand and hold your shoulders impacts how your teeth fit together and in turn the alignment of your jaw.
  • Sonography
    • Electrical sonography lets Dr. Cload study the sounds emitted by your jaw joint movements to uncover irregularities undetectable with other types of testing.
  • K7 Computerized Jaw Scanning
    • Jaw scanning equipment uses magnetic technology to measure and record movements of the jaw, and to help us estimate your ideal jaw position. The ideal position is where the muscles are relaxed. Relaxed muscles are happy muscles. Unhappy, unrelaxed muscles are just grumpy and painful.
  • Myo-Monitor
    • A safe, electrical impulse relaxes and stimulates jaw muscles so our team can evaluate the movements that occur during different muscle activity phases.

If Dr. Cload finds your symptoms are caused by TMJ, the next step is to draw out a detailed and customized treatment plan that’s tailored for your specific needs. TMJ can be caused by a number of factors, and our diagnosis process is designed to determine what exactly is causing your symptoms. With a solid treatment plan, we can take strides in making your TMJ symptoms a thing of the past.

Treating TMD

TMD Treatment in Alberta

Your TMD treatment options depend on the unique circumstances of your condition. In some cases, the uncomfortable symptoms of TMD can be relieved by creating a nighttime grinding appliance to help protect the muscles, teeth and jaw joints from the forces of night time grinding. Patients whose TMD is caused by bite conditions or significant jaw alignment problems that are not alleviated by use of a nighttime grinding appliance may benefit from the use of an oral appliance worn during the day. In all cases, TMD treatment will occur in phases, allowing for long-term results and a lasting relief from pain.

The two phases of TMD treatment are:

  • Phase One: Bite Stabilization
    • The first step in eliminating or reducing your TMD symptoms is bite stabilization. Using neuromuscular dental technology, Dr. Cload will determine the bite position that best allows your jaw muscles to relax. You will then be fitted with an orthotic, which is a small piece of customized plastic that trains your jaw and helps it find its natural biting place. The orthotic is fitted over your lower teeth and is constructed to meet the specifications you need. This orthotic may be removable or fixed again depending on your situation. Once your headaches and other symptoms have eased, Dr. Cload will move on to a long-term solution.
  • Phase Two: Long-Term Solutions
    • The exact nature of your long-term treatment will depend on the severity of your TMD problem. Dr. Cload will design the solution that will do the most to make sure your symptoms are completely alleviated.
    • Coronoplasty/Equilibration – This is the simplest course of treatment and is used when your bite is only slightly misaligned. Dr. Cload will re-shape and smooth the enamel of your teeth, thus correcting your teeth and bite, alleviating your headaches without needing an anesthetic.
    • Permanent Orthotic – If needed, Dr. Cload can bond an orthotic designed to maintain a relaxed, natural bite to your teeth or a removable long term orthotic.
    • Reconstruction – Used if your teeth are severely damaged or if the misalignment is significant, full smile reconstruction involves layering porcelain onto your teeth to maintain your bite.
    • Braces – If your TMD symptoms are caused by a misaligned bite but your teeth are healthy, Dr. Cload might recommend fixing the problem with braces or Invisalign®.

Occasionally a combination of the above options will be needed to provide long term stabilization. During your initial TMD treatment consultation at our Calgary office, which course of action is best for your needs will be determined.

Left untreated, temporomandibular joint disorder can lead to progressively worsening pain and increase in the number of symptoms. It can also contribute to oral health problems including premature wear of your teeth and periodontal disease. TMD is a degenerative disease. It does not get better without treatment. Occasionally symptoms such as pain and noise may resolve, but the condition continues to degenerate without proper care.

Dr. Cload utilizes advanced technologies and treatment options for neuromuscular conditions like TMD. If you are struggling with symptoms or if your existing TMD treatment is not working, please call our Calgary, Alberta office at (403) 278-1415 to schedule a treatment consultation right away.

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