Do you suffer from constant headaches? Does it hurt when your bite fits together? If so, you may have Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, also known as TMJ, TMJD, or TMD.
How do you know if TMJ is the cause of your pain? If you display a few of the following TMJ symptoms, it’s probably time for treatment.
- Pounding headaches that feel like migraine headaches
- Persistent face or jaw pain
- Aching neck and shoulder muscles
- Toothaches or temperature sensitivity (sometimes from grinding teeth and teeth clenching)
- Limited ability to open jaw
- Misaligned bite
- Jaw locking open or closed
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Clicking or other sounds with opening/closing of your jaws
- Abnormal tooth wear
What is the Temporomandibular Joint?
The temporomandibular joint is the most frequently used joint in the body. Located in front of each ear, this ball and socket joint controls common functions like biting, chewing, and talking.
Since it’s used so frequently, any problems with your TMJ show up quickly and can have serious effects.
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
TMJ Disorder usually develops when teeth don’t fit together properly, resulting in a bad bite. This places strain on your head muscles, and then the joint. TMJ shows up as jaw, neck, or shoulder pain, and severe headaches.
TMJ can also have other causes, including:
- Grinding or clenching teeth
- Injuries to the head or face
- Displacement of the disc between jawbone and socket
- Wear and tear on teeth
- Bad bite
Your TMJ Treatment Options
There are many different TMJ treatment options available today.
Surgery is an option as a last resort. However, since most pain comes from the muscles, there are many options to relieve pain without resorting to surgery. Many people also wish to avoid invasive treatment options like surgery.
On the other end of the spectrum? Muscle relaxants and painkillers. Although these treatments may provide short-term relief, they are only band-aid treatments that mask the pain, rather than curing the underlying problem.
A happy medium? Neuromuscular dentistry.
What is Neuromuscular Dentistry?
Neuromuscular dentistry is a non-invasive technique that focuses on correcting the origin of the problem instead of simply treating the symptoms to relieve pain.
How does neuromuscular dentistry work?
First, your dentist will gather data about your bite pattern. They will observe your TMJ signs and symptoms, and take radiographs of your teeth and jaw.
Your dentist will use this information to develop a specialized treatment plan to realign your bite and shift your teeth to their optimal location.
Modern Technology Aids Diagnosis
Recent advances in technology make diagnosing TMJ and finding your best bite easier than ever.
Different scans allow your dentist to gain specific, measurable insights about what's going on in your TMJ area. Your dentist uses this data to calculate your ideal bite. Scans are also used during treatment to measure the effects of treatment and make adjustments as necessary.
Wondering how technology helps your dentist find your best bite? Here are a few of the techniques your dentist may use, and how they help you:
- Electrosonography (ESG): analyzes sounds (like clicking and popping) produced by your TMJ area.
- Surface Electromyography (sEMG): Compares the electrical activity in your muscles at rest, in function, and when fatigued.
- Computerized Mandibular Scanning (CMS): Uses magnets to track your exact jaw movements.
Neuromuscular dentistry offers a long-term solution to eliminate headaches, jaw pain and other issues associated with TMJ. If you suffer from TMJ, neuromuscular dentistry may be the solution you need to fix your bite and start living again.
Schedule an appointment today and find out how neuromuscular dentistry can help you reclaim your smile.