Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ or sometimes TMD)
are very complex disorders that can involve many different systems. Proper diagnosis of TMJ is essential to proper treatment, but it can be difficult because the condition has so many co-occurring conditions that may also involve a lot of overlap, such as headaches.
In order to properly diagnose TMJ, a dentist must have the proper dental technology, the proper training, and well-developed experience in the field. In Nashville, Dr. Kent E. White at the Center for Advanced Dentistry is an expert dentist who is ideally equipped to diagnose and treat TMJ.
Multiple Diagnostic Technologies
One vital element of TMJ is that it is simultaneously impacting your teeth, jaw, muscles, nerves, and many other systems. In order to be able to track down TMJ, we have to use diagnostic technologies that allow us to look at multiple systems at once. This gives us a fuller picture of the bite condition and helps us focus our energies on creating the ideal TMJ treatment.
One vital pairing of technologies is the combination of T-Scan and the BioPak diagnostic system. The T-Scan is a remarkable diagnostic technology. It provides us with digital measurements of the exact force being experienced by each tooth in your mouth. In fact, it measures bite force at several points on each tooth so we can tell if there are any parts of the cusp that are being subjected to excessive force.
The BioPak is actually three different diagnostic tools. One is an electrosonograph, which allows us to listen to the sound of your jaw joint. The three dimensional jaw tracking tool allows us to determine whether your jaw follows a regular, healthy path as it opens and closes, or if it has irregular movement that may be trying to compensate for imbalance in the jaw system. Electromyography allows us to measure how hard your muscles are working.
Combining these two technologies gives us a complete perspective on any potential bite problem, from your muscles and jaw joints to your teeth. It allows us to see, for example, how high activity in your muscles translates into damaging force on one or more teeth. Or how the high force levels in your teeth can correspond to high force levels in your jaw joints. Or how your body has developed accommodating habits to try to deal with the excessive force.
These technologies have the benefit of being real-time technologies that can be synchronized to show how symptoms manifest simultaneously in different places. These are things that static x-rays just can’t show us.
But that doesn’t mean static images can’t be useful, especially when they’re very detailed. For example, CT scans create a detailed 3D image of the entire jaw system, including your teeth, bones, and jaw joints. Even though it’s a static image, the details give us information we can’t get in other ways. And it helps us narrow down our treatment approach.
Unique Training to Apply Technologies
However advanced they are, diagnostic technologies are only tools. In order to properly apply them to get an expert diagnosis, a dentist has to be properly trained. It takes a diversity of knowledge and background that is very uncommon among dentists.
Dr. White has a unique training background in dentistry. He had a residency at a medical school where he learned a different perspective on oral health and structures. He trained with world-renowned dentists in dental implantology. And then he pursued postgraduate education in neuromuscular dentistry at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dentistry (LVI). LVI quickly recognized his talent, and named him a Senior Clinical Instructor, the youngest dentist ever to hold that position at the time.
With this combination of medical training and dental pioneering, Dr. White’s training sets him apart, making him a unique dentist and a qualified expert on TMJ diagnosis and treatment.
Experience Is a Great Teacher
There are lessons that no one can teach but experience, and even here Dr. White excels. With more than 20 years experience in dentistry, Dr. White has helped many people in Nashville experience relief from TMJ. Many of these people went to other dentists and doctors first to get relief from symptoms like headache, neck pain, and jaw pain, but did not experience the relief they needed.
Dr. White, however, was able to help them get relief so they could return to their happy, productive lives. You can see some of these people’s testimony on our Patient Reviews page, but you may also run into them at work, at the grocery store, or on the playground spending time with their children instead of at home in pain. They are your friends and neighbors, and if you ask around for people who have found relief from TMJ, many of them were patients of Dr. White.
If you are looking for relief from TMJ in Nashville, please call (615) 383-6787 today for an appointment with TMJ dentist Dr. White at the Center for Advanced Dentistry.