Author: Fred Kahn MD, FRCS (C)
Source: Meditech International Inc.
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, or TMD, can cause headaches and aching pain in the mandible, face and ear. Due to its multiple causes, the condition can be persistent, inexplicable, and resistant to a wide variety of therapies. Dr. Kahn explains how Laser Therapy can be used to restore function by treating the source of the pain of this complex pathology.
When the jaw clicks, pops or locks constantly, it can be painful as well as annoying.The problem, known as a temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMD, can cause headaches and aching pain in the mandible, face and ear. Due to its multiple causes, the condition can be persistent, inexplicable, and resistant to a wide variety of therapies.
When practitioners (whether they currently use low intensity laser therapy “LILT” or not) encounter a patient with TMD, they’re frequently seeing people who may have already been treated by dentists, oral surgeons, general practice physicians, neurologists, chiropractors, physical therapists, biofeedback therapists – and even by psychiatrists. Patients may recount surgeries, orthodontics, prescription drugs, and a sense of hopelessness with regard to living “normally.”
“We’re now in a position to reverse the course of TMD using Bioflex (LILT) – the only non-invasive treatment that restores full function by treating the source of the pain,” says Dr. Fred Kahn of Toronto’s Meditech Laser Rehabilitation Center. Indeed, it’s a curative therapy, unlike most therapies that modulate symptoms.
Dr. Kahn explains, “Even the causes of TMD are sometimes inconclusive. The temporomandibular joint-TMJ-is one of the most complex joints in the body. The healthy TMJ opens and closes like a hinge but also allows the lower jaw to slide forward. The TMJs are located right in front of each ear. An injury, or clenching and grinding of the teeth, can cause the disk to degenerate or be displaced; and unlike other joints in the body (like a knee or shoulder or elbow) the lower jaw consists of two joints working in synergy, which makes it highly sensitive to misalignment (malocclusion).”
As one dentist comments candidly, “Dentists see people with absolutely lousy teeth and really terrible bites all the time; but as a group, these people don’t necessarily have more headaches [from TMD] than those people with perfect teeth. It makes it difficult to find the ultimate cause and treat it successfully.”
Published research corroborates successful treatment of TMD at the Meditech Laser Rehabilitation Center. In one paper, “Effectiveness Of Low Level Laser Therapy In Temporomandibular Disorder,” Drs. S. Kulekcioglu; K. Sivrioglu; O. Ozcan, M. Parlak (Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Uludag University School of Medicine in Bursa,Turkey) set out to investigate the effectiveness of low intensity laser therapy in the treatment of temporomandibular disorder. The doctors selected thirty-five patients whom they evaluated using magnetic resonance imaging and randomly allocated to active treatment (n=20) and placebo treatment (n= 15) groups. In addition to a daily exercise program, they treated all patients with fifteen sessions of low intensity laser therapy.They then assessed pain, joint motion, joint sounds and tender points.
The results? While the researchers observed reduction in pain in both active and placebo treatment groups, they saw that active and passive maximum mouth opening, lateral motion, and the number of tender points were significantly improved only in the active treatment group. Treatment effects in myogenic [muscle-related] and arthrogenic [joint-related] cases produced similar results.
The doctors concluded that low-intensity laser therapy should be considered as the appropriate therapy in the management of temporomandibular disorder.