Do you have a TMJ problem?
Do you suffer from:
- Headaches or migraines
- Facial pain
- Neck pain or shoulder pain
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Ringing in ears (tinnitus)
- Stuffiness or congestion in ears
- Pain around the jaw joints
- Grating sounds (crepitus) in jaw
- Limited movement or locking jaw
- Chipped, worn or broken teeth
Here’s the real problem
TMJ dysfunction masquerades as a host of other medical conditions. It is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. You seek care with medical specialists to no avail.
Meanwhile, the underlying condition, which actually caused your symptoms, remains untreated, getting progressively worse, causing further damage to your muscles, nerves and joints.
You wouldn’t dream this could be related to your bite.
My bite feels fine
How could your bite have anything to do with your symptoms? It’s really quite simple. When there’s a problem with the bite, the upper and lower teeth don’t come together properly.
If the upper and lower teeth don’t mesh together precisely, it forces the jaw to shift position and your muscles have to work harder than they should to bring your teeth together. Your jaw muscles don’t fully relax even though they feel normal to you. Simply stated, your jaw joint and muscles are not in harmony with your bite. A tiny discrepancy, even half a millimeter, can cause a big problem.
TMJ, sometimes called TMD, is a cycle of pain, muscle spasms and jaw joint problems that results when the teeth, chewing muscles and jaw joints don’t work together harmoniously. The letters TMJ or TMD stand for temporomandibular joint dysfunction. This refers to problems with the muscles and joints that join the mandible (jaw bone) to the temporal bone at the base of your skull.
Pain comes from the muscles
You bring your teeth together to swallow several thousand times a day. If your jaw is not positioned properly, the muscles become sore, stiff and tired. Over time, this constant muscle tension leads to fatigue, spasm and pain. If the jaw is not in its comfortable position the muscles are forced into a chronic state of contraction. This chronic contraction causes muscle pain.
Dr. Janet Travell, physician to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, stated years ago that 90% of pain comes from the muscles. For every muscle that is in chronic contraction, there are antagonist muscles that are forced to contract as well. That’s why neck and shoulder pain are also associated with a bad bite. That’s why 3/4 of all headaches are muscle related.
It gets far worse.
If left untreated and unresolved, the constant strain on the muscles can pull the delicate disc that cushions the jaw joint out of position. If this happens, the bones of the jaw joint can rub against each other and the nerves, causing severe pain and further damage and deformation to the joint. If your jaw used to click or pop and now you can’t fully open or you hear grating sounds in your joint, your disc may be dislocated, leading to osteoarthritis. What if your disc is damaged and you could have prevented further deterioration?
The more you know, the less everything appears normal.
There are many causes of TMJ dysfunction, including grinding, clenching, stress or injury. A bad bite due to misaligned, missing or worn down teeth is a common cause. Coupled with tense, strained muscles it leads to a variety of problems you never associated with your jaw position such as headaches, facial pain, neck pain, earaches, dizzyness, ringing in the ears, clicking, popping, damage to the jaw joint and other symptoms.
You can learn far more about TMJ/TMD if you visit us in person. The key is to realize that if we can get your muscles relaxed we can help you dramatically reduce or eliminate your symptoms. Go to the next page on “solutions” and discover the science behind neuromuscular dentistry and our innovative approach to tmj pain relief.