Protect your smile from periodontal disease

Dr. Gary R. DiStefano, DDS &
Schaefer Dental Group


HOWELL, MI 48843
OFFICE (517) 546-8983
FAX (517) 546-1422

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Treatment of TMJ Disorders

TMJ Emergencies | TMJ dentist Howell Michigan

1. Diagnosis:
No effective treatment for any issue can occur without good diagnosis first. In the world of TMJ, this requires MRI evaluation.

2. Treatment/Solutions:
TMJ problems can begin very early in childhood. Typically the symptoms usually do not become severe enough to seek treatment until early adulthood. During the intervening years, the basic TMJ problem becomes overlaid with other problems which may require treatment in order for a complete recovery. These overlaying problems are what make TMJ therapy complex and may require other specialists to solve .In order to have a successful treatment, all problems must be addressed. To leave any of the secondary problems untreated may result in a recurrence of symptoms in a matter of time.

Treatment of the TMJ's is done by designing intra-oral orthotics to address the internal joint damage. The orthotics are used to eliminate the joint inflammation and pain, to artificially stabilize the internal joint as much as possible and to restore a normal range of motion in all directions. These are the goals of this treatment. These principles are long standing methods in orthopedic, athletics, and osteopathic medicine. These techniques usually control the joint pain, ear pain, and temporal pain, which all normally arise from tissues within the TMJ. The rest of the myriad of symptoms associated with TMD/CMD involve the bio-mechanical implication of function of the area. Finally, there are rare conditions within the injury spectrum that do require a surgical solution. When such findings appear on a MRI evaluation, a 3-D C. T. scan will be necessary to determine such a surgical need. While rare, these conditions will continue to degenerate without surgery. The outcome is improved the sooner it is diagnosed and the reconstruction surgery is performed. The outcome is also unfortunately dependent upon the surgeon and the type of surgery performed. Our TMJ dentist office in Howell, Michigan is most fortunate to be affiliated with outstanding physicians, physical therapists, and an oral surgeon, all of whom have proven competent. TMJ treatment, when properly done, results in almost 90% success rate.

Our treatment for TMJ disorders is handled in phases.

Phase One:

  • Correctly diagnosing all the aspects relevant to resolving the symptoms.
    • May take anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months
  • Types of therapy that may be involved include:
    • Passive orthopedic appliances
    • Exercises
    • Osteopathic manipulative medicine
    • Physical therapy
    • Nutrition
    • MRI
    • Acupuncture
    • Counseling
  • Phase ends when the patient's symptoms have disappeared or have been reduced significantly enough that both the patient and the doctor feel that there has been success.

Phase Two:

  • Involves keeping the changes already made permanent.
  • Using an active appliance that alter the jaw structures permanently and orthodontia to establish a new bite which supports the temporomandibular disorder.
  • This work normally takes 6-24 months of continuous appliance wear.
  • An alternative to this permanent correction may involve simply continued use of 1st phase appliances on a part-time
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Howell Michigan Dentist Office - Friendly, State of the Art Dental Care

Our senior dentist, Dr. Gary R. DiStefano, DDS, has been serving the dental needs of Howell Michigan residents in the Howell area for over 30 years. He is a highly trained and experienced cosmetic dentist as well an expert in the treatment of TMJ disorders. The Doctor and his staff are dedicated to providing you with the best dental care available. We pride ourselves on using the most advanced dental procedures and techniques, state-of-the-art dentistry, and an unmatched commitment to serving our patients!

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Our happy patients come from areas all around Howell, including: Ann Arbor, Brighton, Canton, Commerce Township, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Fenton, Fowlerville, Grand Blanc, Highland, Highland Township, Jackson, Lansing, Mason, Milford, Northville, Pinckney, Plymouth, Whitmore Lake, and Williamston.