Do you have jaw pain?But no tooth ache?
It may not be a tooth ache, it may be your jaw joint.
Temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) or disorder of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
These are common terms for Craniomandibular Dysfunction, a collection of symptoms which result when the chewing muscles and jaw joints do not work together correctly.
Many chronic suffers are misdiagnosed with neuritis, neuralgia, stress, or tension headache, and even labeled as neurotics or hypochondriacs!
The simple fact is that your teeth must come together in a bite that supports a healthy normal jaw joint relationship with the joint discs in place between the condyles of the muscle and the fossae of the skull in order that the muscles of the jaw, head and neck work properly.
How do you know if you have TMD?
It’s not always obvious. TMD can generate referred pain, manifesting in areas other than the jaw but still intricately related to an unstable bite. Do you suffer from migraines or headaches, pain behind the eyes, earaches, ringing or buzzing in the ears, loss of hearing, dizziness, clicking, locking of your jaw, grinding, clenching, unusual wearing or cracking of your teeth, jaw soreness upon awakening, difficulty swallowing, facial pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, or numbness/tingling in the fingers? You may have a compromised bite.
Maybe you’ve tolerated symptoms for years. Your malocclusion (bad bite) might be inherited – crowded or overlapped teeth, poorly aligned teeth, extra or missing teeth, irregularities of jaws or face – or it might have resulted from habits like thumb/finger sucking, mouth breathing and poor tongue functioning. Your bad bite may be the consequence of a single missing tooth, an improper restoration, or ground down or broken back teeth. The onset of symptoms may have been sudden and intense, as in after an accident, whiplash, or a blow to the face. Regardless of cause, jaw joint disorders tend to worsen over time if left untreated.
How is TMD treated in our office?
Your initial appointment will be a visual temporomandibular joint dysfunction examination and consultation. This appointment will take about 45 minutes to one hour and at the completion of this initial visit a tentative diagnosis will be established. You will have an opportunity to have your questions and concerns answered and proposed treatment and costs will be discussed with you at this time.
If you wish to proceed, the second appointment will involve diagnostic records and consultation, confirming the initial examination and diagnosis. The records appointment involves panoramic and transcranial digital radiography and digital photographs to document where you are before treatment begins. If appropriate, and you wish to proceed with treatment, impressions will be taken to have an orthotic appliance constructed and programmed by the doctor as a first step toward symptom relief and jaw joint disc recapture. This will help your jaw joints to realign and then the muscles to relax.
Some conditions will benefit most from multidisciplinary treatment, and in those cases the doctor will work closely with a craniosacral massage therapist, chiropractor, physical therapist or other practitioners to help in your healing.
As your joints begin to heal and your initial symptoms improve, the next phase of your treatment plan will be determined by the doctor and discussed with you at that time with regards to an estimated cost and time line. If any questions or concerns arise during treatment, please do not hesitate to contact our office. Ultimately you deserve to live free from chronic pain!