TMJ disorder treatment is highly individualized. Dr. Tim Kelly uses advanced, 3-D imaging technology to diagnose the underlying cause of the patient's symptoms. By restoring the proper function of the jaw, he can provide treatment that lasts for a lifetime.
You know, the treatment for the TMJ disorder varies from patient to patient. We have goals in mind. We know what a healthy chewing system looks like, what nature gave us, but I think of it this way. If you went to a cardiologist, he knows what a perfect heart looks like and beats like and feels like, and he would like all of us to have that perfect heart. We all don't have that, but he wants us to get to as close to ideal as possible. Treating the TMJ is the same way. We know what an ideal chewing systems looks like, feels like, functions like, and for patients after their diagnosis when we know what their particular problem might be, our goal is to get them back to the ideal chewing system how nature intended.
The fix for TMJ is to get the system working how it should, the jaw joint positioned correctly, just like you'd want your knee or hip positioned correctly, to have the teeth fitting together the way nature intended. So unworn teeth that all fit together, at the same time the jaw joint fits together, the muscles are relaxed, you're chewing like you should be, symptoms usually subside, and that's how we treat. A successful patient is when the bite works and they're comfortable.
I think the key technology to diagnosing a patient with a TMJ disorder is all the diagnostic records we use are invaluable, but I think the most important one you don't see every day at most offices is the technology to take a scan of the head called a CBCT. It's a three-dimensional scan so I can literally take the patient's jaw joint, rotate it around on the computer and look at it three-dimensionally so I really have a very thorough understanding if there's any disease in the joint and how it's functioning.
The process varies again from individual to individual, but the diagnostic process can be as short as a couple weeks, maybe up to 10 or 12 weeks depending on the severity of symptoms. The treatment can be quite simple in maybe one or two appointments, or for a very complex case it can extend out for months. So every individual is treated differently. The best thing to do is to treat patients early on in the process, because the earlier we see them, the earlier we get the patient functioning ideally, the less complicated the treatment.
The results can literally last a lifetime because we're returning the body to functioning how nature intended, and Mother Nature kind of had it figured out. I think it's very important to understand the human chewing system and to emulate that, so that's why our treatment can last a lifetime.