TMJ/TMD Treatment in Yorktown Heights, NY
A Holistic & Physiologic Approach to TMJ & Bite Problems
There are other dentists who offer TMJ/TMD treatment. But there are few with the depth of training and experience that Dr. Lerner has at The Center For Holistic Dentistry in Yorktown Heights, NY. In fact, Dr. Lerner knows just what TMJ disorder feels like – he suffered from TMJ symptoms from the time he was a kid until he found the solutions that he now shares with his patients.
Alternative Therapies & Testing Methods
Dr. Lerner’s system includes a number of alternative therapies and testing methods not often found in a dental office. In addition to his 40 years of experience in TMJ disorder treatment, Dr. Lerner and his team have taken extensive training at the Las Vegas Institute in Physiologic Dentistry and Cranial Facial Orthopedics and Orthodontics.
Dr. Lerner also has years of experience using Acupuncture, Applied Kinesiology, and Cranial Sacral therapy. Through this training, he has helped many TMJ disorder patients who have suffered pain and disability before finding their way to The Center for Holistic Dentistry.
Dr. Lerner shares his personal struggle with jaw pain associated with TMJ complications and his unique approach to treating it.
What Is TMJ?
The letters “TMJ” are a commonly used abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint. This is the joint found in front of the ear, connecting the jawbone to the skull. But, often, the term “TMJ” is used to describe a broader condition that may involve strain and lack of balance within the muscles of the jaw and neck as well as the bones of the skull and face. This is more accurately described as TMD or Temporomandibular Disorder.
The effects of TMD are not limited to the head, neck, or jaw; they have the potential to affect the function of the whole body. This diffusion of symptoms is one of the reasons TMJ disorders are so often overlooked and misdiagnosed. We have seen many cases in which the correction of the underlying jaw problem has led to the relief of chronic back problems, breathing problems, difficulty walking, foot problems, digestive issues, fatigue, and generalized stress.
We recently had a patient who came in with a toothache. Another dentist told her she needed root canal treatment but she wanted a second opinion. It turns out the pain was caused by her bite putting too much pressure on her tooth! We made her a simple bite support to keep pressure off the sore tooth. The next week she came back to see us, grateful for the relief of her toothache, and even better, she said that wearing the bite support had given her relief of severe and debilitating back pain! She had been at her wit’s end with the back pain and had been told by doctors that only surgery offered hope of relief.
Do I Have TMJ Dysfunction?
There are many different symptoms of TMJ. When the TM joint is not working properly, you may experience:
- Popping or clicking and/or pain as you open and close your mouth
- Pain in your jaw muscles as you chew and even when at rest
- Ear symptoms (ear pain, stuffiness or itching, loss of hearing, dizziness, tinnitus)
- Eye symptoms (pain in or behind the eyes, blurring of vision)
- Pain in a tooth or sensitivity of the teeth
- Chronic headache or migraine
- Pain anywhere in the face, head, or neck
- Stiff neck
- Low back pain
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth
How Is TMJ / TMD Corrected?
If you suffer from TMJ disorder, your treatment will be tailored to your particular needs. A careful study must be done to clearly define the nature of the problem. This involves a thorough consultation and a comprehensive examination.
During your examination, we will evaluate the sites of your pain, as well as the functional integration of related body systems using muscle reflex assessment of your acupuncture meridians. We will perform a thorough analysis of the physiology of your bite, the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ), and your jaw muscles. We will perform a computerized neuromuscular analysis of jaw function using the Biopak Jaw Diagnostic System, as well as a T-Scan analysis of the distribution of bite forces on your teeth. We also make plaster models of your teeth to help us understand how your bite may contribute to your condition. Using a Cone Beam x-ray, we will create a 3D picture of your jaw structures including the TM Joint, your sinuses, and your airway.
Once we have completed an analysis, we will begin treatment with bite appliances (Orthotics) that will place you in an optimal physiological position to stabilize your bite, relax and balance your jaw muscles, and by extension, the muscles through your body. Two different appliances will be used: one for use during the day another at night.
TMJ/TMD treatment with gentle pain-relieving techniques drawn from Acupuncture, Applied Kinesiology, and Cranial‑Sacral Therapy will be used as needed. When appropriate, we provide TMJ treatments with moist heat packs and cold laser therapy.
Once your pain is relieved we will offer you options to fix the underlying causes in your bite. This might involve adjusting the shape of teeth so they fit better, building up teeth to provide better support, function, and esthetics, or possibly correcting issues of poor jaw development and misaligned teeth with Integrative Functional Orthodontics.
The goal is to bring the TM joint and the muscles of the jaw into a comfortable and healthy balance. Many of the patients we treat have improper posture and function of their tongue and lips and benefit from Myofunctional Therapy to correct this.
It is often important for patients to receive appropriate care from either an osteopath, a chiropractor, or a physical therapist during this time to ensure that the neck and spine are also brought into proper alignment. Once comfort and balance have been achieved, it may be appropriate to discuss the correction of your bite with either orthodontics and/or restorative dentistry.
“I thought everyone had headaches… it was uncomfortable for me to smile because of the tension I had in my jaw,” says Dr. Lerner. “After seeking help from dentists, chiropractors, physical therapists, acupuncturists, and osteopaths, I finally came upon the solution to my problems. This has led me to develop my own system of treatment, individualized for each patient in a manner appropriate for them. The system simply does not treat everyone in the same way.”
– Dr. Lerner
Learn More About TMJ/TMD Treatment in Yorktown Heights, NY
To experience our exceptional dental care, schedule your New Patient Exam by calling 914-245-4041 or by clicking here. Your appointment includes a comprehensive review of your health history and concerns; an evaluation of your teeth, bite, gums, and airway passage; low-radiation digital x-rays; and a discussion of your options with a personalized treatment plan. We look forward to meeting you!
As the premier holistic dental practice in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. and the Hudson Valley Region., our dentist and team at The Center For Holistic Dentistry also provide 5-star dental care to patients from Cortlandt Manor, Katonah, Mount Kisco, Briarcliff Manor & Westchester County, N.Y., and the surrounding areas.