A Conservative Holistic Option for Treating TMJ Disorder
Hello, I’m Dr. Jonathan J. Bechtel, DDS and today I’d like to talk about some of the methods I use to treat TMJ Disorder. You or someone you know may benefit from knowing this information. TMD is a troublesome and painful health affliction that affects millions of Americans. Individuals who suffer from this condition are burdened by terrible migraines, back pain, headaches, jaw pain, and a slew of other symptoms. Yet as painful and uncomfortable as this condition may be, many people fail to obtain treatment because they’re concerned about what it would entail.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had patients who have come into my office with TMD symptoms and told me that they put off treatment because they’re afraid. They’re either worried about the cost or concerned by the thought of extensive, ongoing dental work. I’m here to tell you today that TMD treatment does not have to be so burdensome. There are holistic, minimally invasive options and conservative methods out there.
Below, I’ve shared some of my experience in working with complicated TMD cases and how Bioesthetic Dentistry provides a viable, conservative option for obtaining effective treatment and long-term relief.
My Experience in Treating TMJ as a Holistic Dentist
The reason that I became a dentist is because I wanted to help people. Holistic dentistry made sense to me from the beginning because it focuses on the whole patient and aims to improve their quality of life, which is what I wanted to do. The health of the mouth and our overall health cannot be separated. I have been practicing holistic dentistry since 2008 and today I run a health-focused, patient-centered dental practice out of an office in Lansing, Michigan.
I became interested in Biologic Dentistry because it aligned with my values as a person. I’m someone who considers themselves to be a lifelong learner. I’m always seeking ways to increase my knowledge and improve. Biologic Dentistry shares these same goals. It aims to use the most up-to-date, scientific information, constantly striving for more effective, innovative treatment methods.
Sometime down the line, I became interested in helping people who suffer from TMJ disorders. This includes people with bite problems, muscle pain, facial pain, headache pain, and a jaw system that is simply dis-functional. These patients came into my office in a tremendous amount of pain and distressed and I wanted to help them.
“Bioesthetic Treatment” Training & Education
I began studying Bioesthetic Principles and enrolled in courses at the OBI (Oral Bioesthetics International) Foundation. I completed OBI’s Level 2 “Bioesthetic Diagnosis” curriculum and later graduated from OBI’s Level 3 “Bioesthetic Treatment” curriculum, which focuses on the Bioesthetic diagnostic process, conservative treatment options, development of an ideal treatment plan, and full completion of stabilization and restoration on an actual patient.
Through this training and ongoing education, I have been able to learn a tremendous amount about degenerative chewing systems and Bioesthetic Principles. Today, I use the information I’ve gained to direct my practice and provide the most comprehensive TMJ treatment possible.
Explanation of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
TMJ Disorder is a condition characterized by the dysfunction of the temporomandibular joints. These joints link your mouth to your skull and are responsible for all jaw movement. When functionality of the TMJs is impaired, the muscles in your face, neck, and back work harder in an effort to overcompensate. Over time, they become exhausted and begin to spasm, which leads to TMJ symptoms.
What Are the Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?
Often, patients will receive numerous diagnoses before they come to my office and are finally able to discover the root cause of their symptoms. This is because some of the symptoms of TMD don’t at all appear to be dental-related. But when we take a closer look, we can see clearly that the root cause of the patient’s pain and discomfort is, in fact, the dysfunction of the TMJ joints, which (much like a domino-effect) sets off a chain reaction of symptoms including:
● Sinus headaches or migraines
● Neck stiffness
● Ear aches
● Jaw pain, stiffness, or soreness
● Teeth grinding
● Difficulty chewing or moving the jaw
● Jaw locking
● Jaw popping or clicking noises
● Facial pain
Applying Bioesthetic Principles to TMD Treatment
To treat TMJ, the jaw joints must be stabilized. Once they are stable, the muscle spasms will subside, along with the accompanying symptoms. Bioesthetic Dentistry focuses on restoring the original, natural biology of the dental system and correcting the issues that lead to jaw joint dysfunction in the first place. It is a holistic, minimally invasive treatment that aims to produce long term results and improve the patient’s dental health as well as their overall health and quality of life.
When using Bioesthetic Dentistry to treat TMD, there are three goals that I have in mind:
1. To stabilize the jaw joint
2. Make sure the teeth function properly. This way, the jaw joints remain in the correct position and are able to function normally.
3. To reverse the damage caused to the teeth and restore them to their ideal anatomic form and function.
Holistic, Minimally Invasive Treatment for TMJ
One of the key aspects of Bioesthetic Dentistry is that it aims to replicate the natural biology of the human anatomy. To do this, scientists have determined that conservative, minimally invasive techniques are best, since they allow for the preservation of the natural teeth and dental elements.
Natural teeth are stronger, more aesthetic, and longer lasting. Therefore, I try to preserve them as best as I can, using minimally invasive, conservative techniques to treat the issues at hand that are causing your TMJ symptoms. Not only does this eliminate the need for full mouth reconstruction, but it is also less costly.
My goal is to provide you with a better looking, better functioning smile that lasts over the years and allows you to live a happy, comfortable life that is free of dental disease.
Schedule Your TMJ/TMD Appointment Today!
Bechtel Dentistry is honored to extend our TMJ/TMD expertise for patients in Lansing, Holt, Okemos, Mason, Grand Ledge, Dewitt, Haslett, Williamston, St. Johns, Charlotte, Eaton Rapids, East Lansing, and Potterville. Contact our office today at 517-882-7132 to schedule your holistic dental service and start your journey to better wellness. We strive to provide the highest level of care with our incredible holistic approach for the comprehensive treatment you need. We’re looking forward to working with you!