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Dr. Rosser’s Diagnostic Approach to TMJ
Dr. Rosser is one of the leading authorities of TMJ disorders in N.W. Montana. He distinguishes himself in the field by fully utilizing the most advanced imaging technology available. MRI’s and CT scans allow him to make a definitive diagnosis of the joint problem because imaging is the only way to see exactly what is going on within the jaw joint. An accurate diagnosis allows him to prescribe the individualized treatment plan each TMJ patients deserves.
Dentist and Physician referrals welcomed
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are a family of problems related to the complexity of the jaw joint. Problems with the TMJ commonly occur in childhood as a result of a trauma caused by a fall or blow to the face or chin, a whiplash or even a stretch trauma from surgery. Unaddressed or unnoticed at the time, the injury can manifest later in life causing an array of physical issues that won’t go away. Dr. Rosser actively treats patients who experience pain and discomfort in the head, neck and jaw areas caused by damage to the jaw joint.
Some of the prevalent symptoms of a TMJ Disorder include:
• Tightness of your facial muscles
• Clenching and grinding of the teeth
• A bite that just doesn’t feel right
• Pain while chewing
• Clicking or popping noises from the joint while you’re chewing or when you’re opening and closing your mouth
• Headaches located at the temples, top of the head or at the back of the neck
• Joint pain with and without movement of the jaw
• Ear pain (not associated with an illness)
• Difficulty opening and closing your mouth
• Neck and shoulder pain
• A forward head posture
• Sensitive or loose teeth
Physical changes that may be noticed include:
• Deviation of your lower jaw upon opening.
• Wearing out of the chewing surfaces of your teeth
• An open bite (your front teeth do not meet when the back molars are touching)
• The chin deviates more to one side and is not centered on the face
• Asymmetry of your face where the facial profile is distorted, the chin retrudes (appearing weak or small)
• The head tilts to one side or tilts forward
Treating patients suffering from TMJ Disorder proposes a unique challenge and one that starts with empathy for the pain afflicting their lives. Getting to know and understand the patient’s history and concerns is essential in providing the course of testing and treatment necessary to alleviate their pain and discomfort. Our goal is to return the patient to a life of normalcy.
Below is a general outline of the evaluation process, testing and treatments Dr. Rosser provides his TMJ patients.
Phase I Assessment & Diagnostic Records
Patient History Review
• The patient fills out a complete questionnaire describing their medical, dental and TMJ issues (a separate more detailed questionnaire might also be necessary for trauma/accident issues).
• Dr. Rosser reviews and fully discusses the questionnaire with the patient.
• He follows up with questions about the patient’s symptoms, discomfort level and how long the symptoms have occurred.
Comprehensive TMJ Examination
• A hands-on palpation of the patient’s muscles in the face and neck regions. This exam may reveal tender areas previously unnoticed or confirm specific pain centers. Patients with more acute TMJ disorder have the majority of pain in the elevator muscles that help them to close their mouth.
• An assessment of the bite in a “fully seated joint position” that is made by utilizing the bi-manual technique. In this position we can see how the teeth fit together in the posterior (back) and in the anterior (front).
• While the patient is in the “fully seated joint position” Dr. Rosser will use a light, medium and heavy load pressure on the joint to check if the disk is in the proper position.