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Orofacial Pain and Bite Analysis

Washington, D.C. dentist Dr. Andrew Cobb is one of few local dentists with the advanced training and technology necessary to provide accurate and comprehensive diagnosis for complex temporomandibular disorders, TMDs. Dr. Cobb teaches other dentists around the globe the concepts of complete dentistry. This approach takes into consideration the function of the entire occlusal system, from teeth to jaw joints. A healthy and comfortable bite relies on the harmonious function of the teeth, gums and jaw joints.

One of the key symptoms of a TMD, commonly called TMJ, is orofacial pain. Orofacial pain is a chronic condition that often affects your daily quality of life. Headaches, jaw tension, neck and shoulder pain can add to your daily stress and even impact your ability to perform at work, enjoy a healthy diet or an active social life.

Using advanced digital technology, Dr. Cobb is able to evaluate the muscle function and the biting forces being placed on each tooth, pinpointing areas of imbalance and dysfunction in the bite. Using this in depth analysis, he can offer patients individualized treatment for orofacial pain that is designed to address the underlying cause for a result that is lasting. Treating the symptoms will eventually lead to a breakdown of dentistry and can even lead to the development of additional dental problems. Successful treatment for orofacial pain relies on identifying and addressing both the mechanical issues related to the function of the bite and the emotional stressors that are impacting your quality of life. For most patients, these two elements of their overall health and well being are affecting their oral health simultaneously.

Orofacial Pain Treatment in Washington D.C.

Dr. Cobb works one-on-one with patients to evaluate all aspects of the bite and develop an understanding of their overall health and well being. Orofacial pain can have a range of underlying causes and is often linked to stressors in a patient’s life. Identifying these factors is the key to long term, successful treatment and pain relief.

Dr. Cobb uses advanced technology to analyze the bite and muscle function in the head, neck and jaw area:

  • Tekscan Dental Equipment: a convenient, hand held device that a patient can bite down on to provide a digital read out of the bite forces placed on individual teeth.
  • Joint vibration analysis (JVA): joint vibration analysis uses accelerometers to record and measure the level of friction in the jaw joints, evidenced by vibration.

Once an evaluation of the bite is complete, Dr. Cobb will work with you to establish a natural and comfortable jaw position and to address malocclusion or tooth damage. Treatment options may include:

  • Mouthguard or splint therapy: a dental splint may be used to reposition a dysfunctional jaw and enable the teeth to make proper contact. A mouthguard or splint can also address teeth grinding, a common symptom of a TMJ related disorder.
  • Restorative dentistry: using dental crown, tooth bonding and other restorative dental treatments, we can address damage and adjust tooth surfaces to allow for proper contact when biting.
  • Orthodontics: if crooked teeth and malocclusion is the cause of your dental problem, Dr. Cobb can refer you to a local specialist to straighten your smile and improve the function of your bite.