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November is National TMJ Awareness Month

November is National TMJ Awareness Month

In support of National TMJ Awareness Month, I’d like to focus on bringing awareness and attention to the significant impact that Temporomandibular (jaw) Disorders (TMJ) impose on millions of people across the globe. Let’s work together to improve understanding among our friends, family members and others!

Hello, I’m Dr. Mike Gallagher, DDS, I have been practicing General & Cosmetic Dentistry since 1987 with a special emphasis on diagnosis and treatment of complex TMJ patient cases involving degenerating chewing systems using Bioesthetic Principles.

Your jaw joint health is an important, but often overlooked topic. Your jaw joints, also called your TMJs, are among the most specialized and crucial joints in your body. When they fall into a state of ill health, your TMJs lose their ability to function properly, which, in turn, leads to a vicious cycle of pain and symptoms known as TMD, or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.

As a Dentist with over 30 years of experience in treating TMJ in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, the best way to interrupt this cycle and put the pain to an end is with the only scientifically proven method of treatment, called MAGO Therapy. I have deep confidence in providing my patients with the MAGO treatment model. “MAGO” stands for Maxillary Anterior Guidance Orthotic), also known as bite splint therapy.

I’ve witnessed first-hand the immediate impact it can make in my patients’ lives and provide them with significant, fast-acting relief. Below, I’ve discussed the benefits of MAGO Therapy in detail, how it works, and the scientific research that has proven its clinical efficacy in treating TMJ/TMD.

What Exactly Is MAGO Splint Therapy?

MAGO Therapy is a non-surgical, non-invasive method used in the treatment of TMJ Disorder. Not only is it a more comfortable alternative to traditional dentistry, but it’s also more effective. MAGO Therapy is highly precise and calculated, relying on scientific data as its basis for treatment.

Using the MAGO method allows me to accurately calculate the proper alignment of the jaw joints in their resting position. These calculations can then be used to calibrate an oral split that facilitates precise positioning of the jaw joints for optimal, lasting results.

How Does MAGO Therapy Work?

During treatment, patients wear a custom device over their teeth called a MAGO Splint. The goal of wearing this device is to keep the teeth apart and cause the TMJs to shift gradually, moving into a stable, healthy position.

Once each week, the patient checks in with me so I can observe what’s happening in their mouth and monitor their progress. During their visit, I observe and measure the position of their jaw, also known as the “hinge axis.” Then, based on the data I obtain, I adjust the device as necessary.

Often, TMJ sufferers will experience pain because their chewing muscles are working extra hard due to malocclusion or misalignment of the jaw. The muscles are also spasming due to exhaustion, which puts strain on the TMJ joints. MAGO Splint Therapy helps the facial muscles relax by moving the jaw into proper alignment. Putting an end to these unnecessary muscle contractions alleviates the “pulling” on the TMJs so they can return to their proper position.

Scientific Study of MAGO Splint Therapy

Up until recently, there has been very little scientific evidence that occlusal splints are an effective method for treating TMJ Disorder. In general, dentists have relied heavily on anecdotal evidence and testimonies from patients. Now, however, we are seeing a shift in this mindset. Treatment modalities based on scientifically-backed research are becoming the golden standard. Still, there is a lack of EVIDENCE regarding the effectiveness of using splint therapy for treating TMD. This is what inspired a group of colleagues to initiate a study. The goal was to see if they could bridge the gap between anecdotal and verifiable, scientific EVIDENCE.

In 2015, they conducted a cohort study to determine the effectiveness of a particular type of occlusal device, known as the MAGO Splint.
The study evaluated “12” different symptoms of TMJ Disorder. The list of symptoms included:
• jaw joint popping
• jaw clicking
• locking of the jaw
• jaw pain
• neck pain
• shoulder pain
• mouth pain
• headaches
• earaches
• tinnitus
• teeth clenching
• teeth grinding

The goal was to see how the MAGO Splint affected these symptoms.
A cohort study of 157 dental patients were used as the subjects for this study. Patients had mixed histories in terms of their dental health but had either all or some of the symptoms of TMJ mentioned above.

The results of this study were astounding. The researchers discovered that not only was the MAGO Splint effective, but it actually exceeded their expectations. MAGO Therapy was able to produce a reduction in 11 of the 12 examined symptoms. In terms of percentages, that’s a reduction of about 91.67% of symptoms.

To date, this is the only study that proves the effectiveness of any occlusal device for treating TMD. Therefore, MAGO Therapy is the only type of splint therapy that has been PROVEN to be effective in reducing TMD symptoms.
Are You Experiencing Symptoms of TMJ/TMD?

Get Started with TMJ Treatment

Are you looking for holistic, minimally invasive TMJ treatment in Eden Prairie? If so, you could be an excellent candidate for MAGO Splint Therapy! MAGO Therapy is a great option for patients looking for fast relief and a non-surgical treatment path. It is a highly accurate method with a proven track record of success. If you are interested in pursuing treatment, I would love to hear from you.

More About Gallagher Dentistry & Facial Pain Center

Dr. Michael Gallagher and our Eden Prairie Dentistry team are committed to providing exceptional care and empowering our patients with information about their dental health. If you have any questions about our services or would like to schedule an appointment, we invite you to give us a call at (952) 942-9600. The outstanding experience of our dental team, Dr. Gallagher, and the skills of our staff have helped us in successfully treating our patient’s oral problems. We’re always welcoming new patients throughout Eden Prairie, Chanhassen, Bloomington, Minnetonka, Edina, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Burnsville, Plymouth, Eagan, Richfield and surrounding areas. For more information, please contact us!

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