What is a TMJ Evaluation?
TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint. It’s your “jaw joint” where your lower jaw connects with your skull and held together with muscles.
Some people experience sore jaws, headaches, or neck pain. They may hear, and even feel, popping when they chew. Some people may even notice an inability to open their mouths as wide as they once could. These can all be signs of temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) and would warrant a TMJ Evaluation by Dr. Krusich in our Overland Park dental office.
The desired outcome of a TMJ Evaluation is to determine if the pain and discomfort is caused by muscular issues, a misaligned bite, or if there are more serious problems with the physical joint.
Dr. Krusich and Patient Videos
Lets listen as one of our patients describes what she was experiencing.
Here is Dr. Krusich describing how bite guards might be able to help.
Advantages & Disadvantages of TMJ Evaluations
Advantages of an Evaluation
- If you experience any type of dental or facial pain, a simple TMJ Evaluation is warranted.
- TMJ issues are sometimes brought on by unconscious teeth grinding at night. Dr. Krusich can develop a night bite guard to alleviate pain.
- Should more serious joint issues be revealed, Dr. Krusich may refer one to a specialist.
Disadvantages of Evaluations
- There are no disadvantages to having an evaluation.
What to Expect During a TMJ Evaluation
- Dr. Krusich places his fingers on the temporomandibular joint while the patient opens & closes their mouth, simulates chewing, and clenches their teeth. By feeling the muscle movement, Dr. Krusich can tell if there is in fact, some unusual movement with the jaw.
- Dr. Krusich may also listen with a stethoscope for popping, clicking, or grinding sounds.
- Both of these evaluations can be subjective so it may highlight the need for more objective, measurable tests.
- X-ray’s maybe given to assist in a proper diagnosis.
- Dr. Krusich will evaluate muscles to determine if tenderness or soreness is present.
- Should evidence of teeth grinding exist, Dr. Krusich will review solutions to like bite guards to address the issue.
- Should a bite be misaligned, (a tooth’s surface prevents proper jaw closure because it’s higher than the other side for example) Dr. Krusich may suggest reshaping a tooth’s surface. If misalignment if severe orthodontics may be needed to help position the teeth into a better bite without removing tooth structure.
Insurance and TMJ Evaluations
TMJ Evaluations are easily scheduled but insurance coverage may need to be determined in advance. X-rays are sometimes covered but depends upon when they were last done and what your insurance plan covers. Same goes for other treatments like bite guards and any reshaping of teeth. While Dr. Krusich accepts Delta Dental, Met Life, Cigna, and Aetna dental plans, we know that each policy is different. It’s best to have Becky or Shelly check with your insurance provider to determine exactly what your plan covers.
If you experience *any* type of head, neck, or jaw pain, let Erin or Tricia know during your next hygiene visit or schedule a free consultation with Dr. Krusich by calling 913-383-2600 today.