How do you know if the pain you feel is caused by your TMJ? You may have pain in your neck or back. You may feel tightness in the muscles around your jaw or temple. You may experience tension headaches, ringing in your ears, vertigo, or earaches. You may have trouble swallowing. You may experience IBS. You may have leg or foot pain. You may wake up with pain or have pain happen during the course of the day.
Many types of pain are not just medical in origin. Causes of TMJ pain are sneaky and often have symptoms that occur far away from their origin. Remember, pain, or a loss of functional mobility are not the same for everyone. While some pain sufferers search for a way to manage the pain they feel, others will look for a solution to eliminate or reduce the onset of the pain they feel.
So if you think you’re experiencing one of the many symptoms of TMJ Disorder, or your medical professionals cannot find a medical cause, it’s important to see a TMJ practitioner (that could be a dentist) right away. He or she can assess the condition and find the best available options for treating TMJ.
Dr. Curtis Westersund:
"The abbreviation TMJ (in doctor jargon: TMD) stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. What is TMJ? The slightest imbalance in the way your teeth bite and function (also known as occlusion) can result in inflammation or disturbance of the TMJ Joints (located just above your jaw joints underneath your ears) which can cause a list of TMJ pain symptoms.
A misaligned bite or a misaligned jaw position can also contribute to poor body posture, decreased strength or limited flexibility, and even cause a compromised breathing airway that may result in sleep disturbance issues.
Seemingly innocent signs (like worn teeth or snoring), can indicate the presence of major misalignments and trigger multiple pain symptoms. Pain symptoms that can disrupt your daily functioning, work, relationships, and even your entire life.
You might have Googled: "What is TMJ?" because you experience TMJ pain symptoms right now. Unfortunately, “Dr. Google” may just add to your confusion. Answers to TMJ problems and solutions come with many controversies online. The take home advice I have is to seek guidance as soon as possible. TMJ pain is a signal that something major may be happening and ignoring signals your body gives you usually results in more pain and discomfort. Waiting won't help. Waiting only makes things worse."
It is all about balance. When a dentist can help provide balance to your body structure, many TMJ signs and symptoms go away. It is utmost important to re-align your bite to ensure your body stays in balance. Changing your bite impacts your entire body. There are many technologies now available to dentists to help improve overall function to the teeth and jaws. Teeth can be sculpted and balanced precisely, helping reduce structural strain and speed up the treatment of TMJ therapy.
During a thorough consultation, we will discuss possible options to treat your TMJ Disorder (TMJD). We may take a Cone Beam CAT Scan of your jaws, jaw joints, airway and neck to assist in any diagnosis or treatment options. We may look at how your teeth have affected your overall posture. We may look at the way your teeth bite and function to see imbalances.
1. Diagnostic Testing
An appointment to assess jaw and neck muscle activity, jaw movement, and joint function. Along with physiotherapy provided by Ultra Low Frequency T.E.N.S. a more healthy bite starting position can be determined.
2. A digitally guided rebalancing of the teeth
1 or 2 appointments to improve the balance of your bite using a digital occlusion analysis system (called the T-scan) and micro-adjustments to begin to eliminate bite strain in clenching and chewing.
3. A dental orthotic or appliance
A removable lower dental orthotic that will help balance your jaw and bite.
4. A Sleep disturbance assessment
An assessment and possible home testing for sleep related disturbances
5. Follow Up care
As your jaw structure begins to heal and improve its function and balance, and as your posture improves, adjustments to your bite and/or your orthotic will be required to continue to provide balanced support. This may be as short as 6 months or as long as 2 years. It all depends on you.