Evaluation and Testing
K7 Computer from Myotronics
Measuring Muscle Activity with the Myotronics K7
During your comprehensive evaluation, you will be put on the Myotronics K7 Electromyography unit. The K7 allows us to record and analyze the activity of prominent face, head and neck muscles attached to the lower jaw. We will measure the muscle activity as you perform different movements with your jaw, head and neck. This is an objective examination where you will be able to see on the computer the activity of your muscles. If your current "TMJ Dentist" is not using an objective measuring device, Dr. Carol Morgan, DDS, will be glad to meet with him or her to discuss the benefits of the K7.
When you close your mouth and your teeth do not meet correctly, this is called malocclusion (bad bite). There are many causes of a bad bite, such as some teeth hitting before others, missing teeth, or your jaw shifting to a side as you bite down. The K7 will measure the muscle activity and trajectory of your jaw movement to give the dentist an objective reading of the stress levels in the muscles of your jaw, head and neck. Many times these muscles work harder to compensate for the incorrect bite and pain in these areas often results. We record this information in the computer, and obtain a baseline of data from which to compare muscle activity before and after relaxation (TENS).
Relaxing Your Muscles with TENS
After your initial testing with the K7, your muscles will be relaxed with the ULF-TENS unit. ULF-TENS stands for Ultra Low Frequency Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation, but don’t let this term intimidate you. Basically, TENS is a way to relax muscles and eliminate muscle spasm with a gentle massage of the muscles. The immediate concern the neuromuscular dentist is to provide relief of your symptoms. The best way to do this is by using the TENS unit. The rhythmic pulsing relaxes the muscles by increasing blood flow and pumping out waste products (toxins). TENS also helps with pain relief by stimulating the body’s production of endorphins, the body’s natural anesthetic.
After about 45 minutes with the TENS unit, your muscles will go into a relaxed state and the muscle activity is ready to be measured and recorded once again with the K7. We now have data in which to compare the activity of your muscles before and after relaxation.
Computer Motion Analysis
We will next analyze the movement of your jaw as you open and close, move side to side, front to back and bite down with pressure with the K7 after your muscles are relaxed. We will measure, track, and analyze the movement of your jaw to within 0.2 millimeters. The K7 computer allows us to see what the naked eye cannot. You will be able to see on the computer the movements of your jaw and identify what happens when you hear pops, clicks or feel pain.
Measures the Sounds of the Jaw with Sonography
With the application of audio sensors to your Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) we are able to identify and record on the K7 any clicking or popping noises made by your jaw opening, closing and biting down. The audio sensors are similar to the use of a echocardiogram to test the function of the heart. The information obtained with sonography can indicate the health of the “disk” in the TMJ and determine the amount of damage to the joint without surgery.
The information recorded with the K7 will allow Dr. Morgan to arrive the proper location and placement of your jaw were all your muscles “fire” equally during opening, closing and chewing. The next step to apply an oral appliance (orthotic) to stabilize your jaw in the proper position so you can start realizing a pain free environment.
1) Consultation and Evaluation
3) Long-Term Management