Austin TMJ Specialist and Neuromuscular Dentist - Dr. Tor Gotun

Dr. Gotun has over 30 years of experience and extensive specialty training in prosthodontics and other dental disciplines. After receiving his doctorate and many years of practice, Austin's advanced TMJ disorder specialist, Dr. Gotun received advanced training in Gnathology, Temporo-Mandibular Joint (TMJ) Therapy and Advanced Restorative Dentistry from The Foundation For Advanced Continuing Education (F.A.C.E.). This training allows him to provide his patients with unique techniques and approaches to resolve even the most complex dental conditions. He never gives up on a patient! Dr. Gotun's rare expertise in occlusion allows him to treat a comprehensive range of TMJ disorders, treating chronic migraines, clicking and popping in the jaw, tinnitus.

Having profound knowledge of treatment methodologies and research in the US and Europe alike, Dr. Gotun's expertise is highly sought after and he even sees patients from other states. 

In addition, Dr. Gotun has completed over 3000 hours of continued education and has been teaching among his peers for over 20 years. Dr. Tor Gotun teaches advanced reconstructive dentistry to dentists and dental labs all over Texas.

Find the best solutions for your Temporomandibular Disorders(TMJ/TMD) in Austin, Texas

When chronic headaches and facial pain occur, you may consider heading to your family physician’s office, but a trip to the dentist may be the more appropriate choice. If clicking and popping in the jaw are also symptoms, you likely have a condition called temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Dr. Tor Gotun at Austin Smile Creations has extensive training, which he constantly updates, as well as thirty years of experience in this area. In fact, he is one of the best neuromuscular dentists in the field.

Bringing cutting-edge technology to Austin. One of the newest ways to approach TMD treatment is Low Level Laser Therapy. Dr. Gotun owns the only Thor Low Level Laser in Austin which he applies for TMJ treatment among other uses. The course of treatment will be recommended based on individual needs of the patient. In general several sessions a week will be necessary in the beginning, then with time reduced to once a week and then to as needed. It is completely non-invasive, painless and extremely effective. We've had great success treating patients in Austin with this laser.

TMJ Dysfunction Causes and Symptoms

A condition affecting the jaw joints and the surrounding facial muscles, TMJ disorder, also called TMJ dysfunction and TMD, can stem from a number of possible causes. Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) most often originates as a neuromuscular problem. It can occur as a result of dislocation or injury, genetic discrepancies, and sometimes it can be linked to arthritis. Often, TMD is associated with stress. Nearly everyone has some level of TMD. However, in some cases, TMD becomes truly painful and can interfere with everyday life. Stress, which causes you to grind and clench your teeth, can place pressure on the TMJs. This tightening of the facial muscles most often occurs during sleep, but can also happen during the day and place a continuous strain on the jaws. Damage to the temporomandibular joints, such as that sustained from a blow to the face, disk erosion, or cartilage wear from arthritis, can also cause improper functioning of the jaw. Likewise, a misaligned bite can place undue strain on the jaw joints and make everyday oral functioning difficult and painful. Symptoms can include jaw pain, headaches, facial pain, neck pain, difficulty opening or closing the mouth, clicking in the jaw when opening and closing the mouth, and ringing in the ears.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder:

  • Tenderness of the jaw and jaw pain
  • Neck pain
  • Pain in and around the ears
  • Chronic headaches
  • Clicking or popping noise when you open your mouth or yawn

Symptoms vary from person to person. Other combinations of symptoms include muscle spasms, fractured or loose teeth, ringing in the ears, difficulty swallowing, earaches, and the inability to chew, bite or open your mouth.

Diagnosing TMJ Disorder

At your initial consultation, your Austin TMJ dentist will perform a physical examination of your jaws, which includes pressing on certain areas of the face to detect sites of tenderness, observing the range of motion as you open and close your mouth, listening for popping sounds and checking the alignment of your bite. Dr. Gotun will also speak with you about your general health, medical history, and lifestyle to determine which further diagnostics is appropriate for you.

For some, simple exercises can relieve the pain associated with TMD. Relaxation and stress control can significantly reduce the symptoms as well. However, some cases are more severe.
As long as TMD is limited to the muscles, Dr. Gotun has a fair chance of improving and even correcting the problem. However, if TMD is not immediately addressed and becomes a joint problem (intracapsular problem) it can become very difficult to find a permanent solution

Each case is different. That is why we create an individual comprehensive plan to address the causes of the problems, in order to manage pain and eventually restore the masticatory system to the best condition possible. The best solution is to seek help at the first sign of problems. This allows us to address the disease before it ends up being non-responsive to any treatment.

We may also refer you for additional support to a trusted colleague in a field such as chiropractic or physical therapy to address other possible neuromuscular problems contributing to this condition. Some cases benefit from counseling, others from pharmaceuticals such as muscle relaxers, NSAIDs, or even antipsychotics. Dentox (a form of Botox used in dentistry) is effective, given the right circumstances.

Types of TMJ Disorders.

It is important to note that while the term TM Disorders is named for the temporomandibular joints, only 20-25% of patients have a pure joint-related problem. The rest suffer from a combination of muscular, joint and nerve pains that fit into the following broad categories:

  • Joint related (internal derangements of the TM joint)
  • Muscle related (myofascial pain and trigger points)
  • Neck related (craniocervical disorders)
  • Orofacial Pains 
  • Nerve related Orofacial Pains (neurogenic pain or neuralgias)
  • Stress related Orofacial Pains (psychogenic and psychosocial pain disorders)

How We Approach the Treatment.

Dr. Gotun utilizes splint therapy, using different splints that serve specific purposes to address problems that manifest themselves due to the way the teeth come in contact with each other. There are many possible causes of such imbalances, and some of them can be partly or completely corrected. To do this, we use splint therapy of different levels. A splint is a highly accurate therapeutic plastic mouthguard specifically designed for you to restore a resting balance of the muscles in the masticatory system with the precision within 5/10,000“. The splint treatment often is followed by an equilibration (grinding of the surface of the teeth where needed to correct the imbalance) or by rebuilding the teeth with crowns, or both.
             

The good news is that no matter the mildness or severity of TMJ disorder conditions, there may be ways to approach the problem and achieve a positive result. If you suspect you have a TMJ disorder, or have been given a diagnosis that you do, the sooner you make the decision to do something about it, the more likely you will be to achieve a favorable outcome. The keys to success are a comprehensive approach to treatment and full cooperation and commitment from the patient. The right combination of treatment options, addressing contributing factors, and changes in one’s lifestyle can do miracles for even the most seemingly hopeless conditions.
               

Relief for TMJ Disorder in Austin, TX

Dr. Gotun is well known for his expertise in TMD treatments, and there is no doubt that choosing our practice to help you is a great first step. We have the knowledge, expertise and experience in helping cases like yours. Dr. Tor Gotun is one of fewer than 200 dentists in North America to receive the Lifelong Learning & Service Recognition award from the Academy of General Dentistry and is dedicated to providing the most advanced treatments for TMJ disorder in Austin. If you suspect you have the condition, contact us at Austin Smile Creations as soon as possible to schedule your appointment.