"The clicking and popping began in my mid-teen years and grew worse the older I got"…
….."this was the first time someone understood what I was going through"…..
…."I could feel the improvement within the first 3 days…It was wonderful"…
TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joints. These are two joints that connect your jaw to your skull and when they are out of place, they can cause:
Clicking or popping of the jaw joints
Pain in or around the jaw joints
Locking or limited opening
Severely Worn Teeth
Pain around the eyes
Clenching or grinding
Neck and shoulder pain
Muscle Spasms go hand in hand with the displaced joint. Because the nerves and muscles are very complex, when they are in spasm in the jaw joint area, the problems can extend into other areas of the body. It is for this reason that the symptoms masquerade so many other conditions, making people travel from doctor to doctor in search of relief. It is estimated that 45 to 50 million Americans suffer from one or more of the above symptoms and many never think to seek a neuromuscular dentist for help.
What is the cause of TMJ?
The structures that allow us to open & close our mouth include the muscles, bones, and joints. They are very specialized and must work together harmoniously when we chew, speak, or swallow. Your teeth are attached to one end of the jaw bone and the TMJ joint is at the other end. The TMJ joint attaches to your skull with muscles that attach to the bones and the joint. This comprises the complex system of teeth, muscles, and bones which must all work together in harmony.
How does TMJ relate to your teeth and your bite?
Sometimes the upper and lower teeth do not come together in a way that provides the necessary support for the jaw against the skull. This may result from a missing tooth or mis-aligned teeth. If your bite is not right, it can affect both the muscles and the joints.
How are the muscles affected?
Your upper and lower teeth must come together firmly each time you swallow. This happens over 2000 times every day! When your bite is unstable, your muscles must work harder and this extra work makes them feel shortened and stiff. This continued strain makes the muscles feel painful and you begin to feel tense & uptight. This begins a vicious cycle of pain, muscle tenderness and tissue damage. The worse the muscle spasm, the more tense you become, increasing the muscle spasm and pain.
""I used to live on ibuprofen"
….."I was going to the chiropractor 3-5 times per month".
….."I had so many broken teeth…it was horrible."
…."I no longer wake up every morning with headaches, no more jaw pain, and I have only been to the chiropractor once in the last 11 months,"….
"To top it all off, I have the most beautiful smile,…..I'm always smiling. Thank you Dr Jon and staff."
How can the position of my teeth affect the jaw joint?
Each jaw joint is like a ball and socket. When this joint functions properly, a thin cartilage disc moves smoothly between the ball and socket. This thin disc acts like a cushion allowing the TMJ joint to move smoothly. Each disc is held in place and guided by a muscle. If your bite is not right, the joint is actually pulled out of alignment and usually the disc is pulled forward. Since the disc is no longer acting like a cushion, the joint itself now rubs against the bony socket. Mild displacement causes popping/ clicking noises in the joint and more severe displacement causes pain and eventual permanent damage to the joint.
So an unstable bite can cause jaw joint displacement, muscle strain and pain. When the jaw joint is displaced for an extended time, the body begins to compensate and adapt by involving the muscles of the neck, back, and often the arms, pelvis, and legs.
What treatment is available?
Every person has a unique jaw and muscle physiology and treatment varies since it involves the teeth, muscles and jaw joints but usually treatment involves several phases. The immediate primary goal is to relieve the muscle spasm and pain. Secondly, Dr Jon must correct the way your teeth fit together so a precision appliance (known as an orthotic) is worn over the teeth until the bite is stabilized.
Since most pain comes from injured or unhealthy muscles, muscle function normalization greatly reduces pain. When the rest position is correctly identified, appliance therapy can rapidly reduce the TMJ symptoms.
When your bite is stable, the teeth, muscles and joints all work together without any strain. The orthotic then becomes the guide for permanent stabilization procedures which can include orthodontics (braces ) or prosthetic dentistry ( crowns and bridges ).
"….I have had headaches for as long as I can remember"..
…"I went to a neurologist….put me on pills"…..
…."Doc started me on phase 1 of the treatment, and now I have two or less headaches a month. Doc and the team have truly improved my life".