Relief from Headaches & Jaw Pain Caused by TMJ
Is it just a headache? Or could it be TMJD? TMJD (Temporomandibular joint disorder) is a temporary disorder affecting the temporomandibular joint, which connects the lower jaw to the skull.
The TMJ is a ball and socket type joint. People suffering from TMJD experience pain and discomfort from yawning, chewing and talking to the extreme cases where patients find it hard to breath and make facial expressions.
TMJD can affect both or just one of the joints. Teeth, muscles, bones, connective tissue, ligaments, tendons, and nerves are all the components that make up the TMJ. As there are so many, the signs and symptoms are obviously vast. These can even go as far as including ear pain because the proximal tissue can swell.
TMJD can be a chronic or an acute disease which takes years to contract and diagnose. Most people find that they have an imbalanced jaw-to-skull connection. This is mainly caused by a bad bite. Luckily, when identified is easily treatable.
An overview of the common signs and symptoms include:
- HeadachePain or ache in the earJarring feeling when chewing or swallowing
- A clicking sound when moving the jaw
- Jaw lock
- Facial pain or discomfort around the face
- An uneven bite due to premature tooth contact
A clicking sound when moving the jaw is very common and will not always mean that you have TMJD. If a clicking sound is not accompanied by pain then it is unlikely that you have TMJD.
Unfortunately the diagnosis of TMJD is very complex. This is because little research has been conducted in fully understanding the vast range of signs and symptoms associated with this condition. This disorder often goes undiscovered due to the condition overlapping in the divisions of the healthcare system. These include psychology, physical therapy, neurology and dentistry. As a result there are several different treatment methods associated with TMJD.
—Dr. David May
David May concentrates on the most effective method which is called Neuromuscular Dentistry. Neuromuscular dentists have a greater understanding of the hard and soft tissues which play an integral role within your mouth. By recognizing this Neuromuscular Dentists can include the muscles and the nerves when examining your teeth and mouth.
The treatment can be very straightforward. The dentist has to determine where your jaw should be resting by relaxing the head, shoulder and neck muscles he can obtain the exact measurements. The solution is to restore whatever is causing the malocclusion (bad bite). This could be by adjusting the actual bite or restoring the teeth through orthodontics or orthotics. Patients find that the pain is decreased or totally eliminated and they are benefitted not only with healthier teeth and gums but by the look and appearance.