Radio Show Transcripts
Jaw Troubles?

Because I use cranial-sacral techniques at my clinic, I often help patients with jaw troubles, but I appreciate managing their care with other providers. That's why I'm joined today by someone who's no stranger to KLBB listeners; Dr. Tricia Carlson from Stillwater Family Dental.

Dr. W.: Could you tell us, please, what do patients notice when they experience jaw dysfunctions?

Dr. C.: There's a number of different things, but usually the most common complaint we get is pain. Whether it's pain with opening or pain with closing, it can be caused by a number of different things. There's the issues of the joint that might be degenerating. There's also the issue of muscle pain, fatigue and muscle cramping around the area. There's a lot of muscles that hold that joint together to make it work well.

Dr. W.: So, what can they expect when they come into a dentist to have their examination?

Dr. C.: Well, we go through a joint exam as part of our soft tissue exam, especially with each new patient, but I also like to go through and check every patient when they come in for a re-care visit. We're really looking, asking questions if they're having pain, palpating the joint; touching it, rubbing our fingers against it, having them open and close, go through those closing and opening motions to really look and see how the teeth are aligning and the jaw is opening, what form it's using when it's going through that motion, and then just looking for signs and symptoms of pain, tenderness, and any fatigue or cramping that a patient might be having.

Dr. W.: If you find something, what are their treatment options?

Dr. C.: The most common treatment option is a night guard for most people. And for other people, there might be the options of using some pain medications, physical therapy, and for more significant issues, we usually refer out to a specialist.

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