By Al A. Fallah, DDS, MICCMO, AIAOMT Home of Exceptional Dentistry
Do you suffer from jaw pain or noises, difficulty chewing or swallowing, headaches or migraines, ear congestion or ringing, or neck and shoulder pain? Then you may among the estimated 15 percent of the US population who suffers from chronic TMJ dysfunction. These symptoms are far-ranging, easily misdiagnosed, and seriously impact quality of life. Dr. Al A. Fallah brings new hope to those in the Carlsbad, CA area, with advanced TMJ treatment options.
Dr. Fallah begins with a thorough questionnaire so he may understand the nature and duration of your symptoms, and possible triggers. Following this compassionate discussion, he performs a cone beam CT scan of the head and neck. From these images, he assesses the status of the temporomandibular joint. He observes posture - how you hold your feet, hips, shoulders, head, and jaw, also taking postural photographs. Range of motion and pattern of opening and closing, particularly the relationship of upper jaw to the lower, is evaluated.
The next stage is temporomandibular function diagnostics, beginning with a series of K7 Myotronics neuromuscular scans. Electromyography or EMG involves placing pads on the masseter and temporalis muscles of the jaw, and the mastoid and posterior cervical muscles of the neck. You relax comfortably with your teeth together, but not clenched. The K7 measures the function of these muscles in real time. Since the masseter muscles are designed to work the jaw, the scan should only show activity in this muscle group. A spike detected in another area, especially the neck, indicates that position of the jaw is creating an abnormal reaction to neck muscles. This is called a descending problem (coming from the head area itself) and is a powerful indicator that jaw size is contributing to head and neck problems.
An EMG scan with the teeth apart, taken while you are sitting and then when you stand, may reveal an ascending problem – a disturbance caused by something below the neck. In that situation, Dr. Fallah provides referral to a chiropractor or osteopath, working closely with this structural specialist to address the cause of your discomfort.
Your autonomic nervous system has two sides. The vegetative nervous system is responsible for relaxation, meditation, digestion, and basically being in a relaxed state of harmony. The sympathetic nervous system is your fight or flight instinct. This dichotomy is critical for survival. However, the sympathetic nervous system was designed to get you out of the path of a predator. It is meant to be activated only for brief periods of time. Modern man’s sympathetic nervous system can get stuck in an ongoing perception of danger. This impacts the entire nervous system and hormonal balance.
Dr. Fallah performs a test to measure the autonomic nervous system. If results show abnormal sympathetic response, he works with a physician who specializes in Hormone disorders.
T-scan occlusal analysis is also an important diagnostic tool. It evaluates occlusal forces when teeth come together as you bite down. This analysis illustrates force distributions at various points in the mouth and problematic contacts that trigger nerve irritation.
Conservative treatments such as cold therapy and stress reduction.
Referral for chiropractic adjustment.
Referral to an appropriate physician.
Cost vs. value
Dr. Fallah believes that every patient deserves the improved quality of life that comes with effective TMJ treatment. Options and cost are not so much the question, as is the value of treatment you receive. Because the treatment plan is customized, it not only addresses your unique physiology and TMD condition, it can be adjusted to your schedule and budget.
Patients who receive care at Dr. Fallah’s Carlsbad, CA office find that the value of TMJ treatment far outweighs the expense, as headaches and migraines are reduced or eliminated. Future need for dental work from fractures and wear is decreased. They sleep well and wake up feeling rested and refreshed. They enjoy eating the foods they love. Face, jaw, neck, back, and hip pain improves. Allergy and sinus problems are alleviated.
Call (760) 576-2779 to schedule a TMJ evaluation with Dr. Fallah.
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