About four years ago, I had a mid-fifties female who came to me because of ever-increasing headaches, migraines, and night-time clenching. She had been to numerous doctors, each prescribing different medications, some of which “zombied me out.” Because of the clenching, she was beginning to suspect problems relating to her TMJ.
TMJ (or jaw joints) is an acronym for Temporo-Mandibular Joints. These joints are just in front of each ear and hinge the lower jaw to the skull on both sides of the head. Each time you eat or speak, these joints are in motion, rotating in unison. When something disrupts the unified rotation of these joints, the results can be that which Elizabeth experienced.
To pinpoint the precise cause of her TMJ disorder (and establish if that was truly the source of her problems), we moved Elizabeth through a series of diagnostic tests. These tests, which are painless, are performed with advanced technology that is specific to evaluating the contributing issues typically related to TMJ problems.
After reviewing the findings of the tests, Elizabeth was not surprised to learn that TMJ disorder was, indeed, her diagnosis. What did surprise her, however, was the fact that her problems were originating from crowns that were too short. The seemingly minor disparity of crown height was creating muscle strain and bite problems.
The body is designed to be in balance on both sides. Just as having one leg shorter than the other can eventually lead to back and hip problems, the position of how upper and lower teeth meet requires proper balance. When something disrupts bite alignment, it can lead to headaches, jaw pain, sore facial muscles, neck and shoulder muscle aches, ringing ears, teeth grinding, worn teeth, and dizziness.
Neuromuscular Dentistry is an advanced area of dentistry that focuses on the jaw joints and the integral structures involved in biting, chewing, speaking, and even resting. A neuromuscular dentist understands the need for the proper resting position of the structures in the head, including the jaw joints, muscles, bones and teeth.
When a neuromuscular dentist oversees your restorative procedures, such as crown placement or a crown & bridge, he or she incorporate measures that support proper bite alignment, eliminating the risks for the many problems TMJ disorder can cause.
Using computerized technology, a dentist who is specially trained in Neuromuscular Dentistry can capture intricate information for more effective treatment. The results provide visual ‘proof’ of treatment requirements so patients better understand treatment recommended to resolve their problems.
In our Shelby Township dental office, Neuromuscular Dentistry is an important part of all implant, restorative (crown-&-bridge, partials, etc.) and cosmetic procedures, While not all neuromuscular dental offices feature advanced technology, we see the findings of this specialized equipment enable us to provide appropriate, effective treatment based on the unique needs of each patient. This helps to prevent over-treatment or under-treating.
Like Elizabeth, many adults are unaware that their bite misalignment can result from issues other than (or in addition to) crooked teeth. We’ve helped many patients resolve years of migraines, headaches, chipping teeth, and other problems. As Elizabeth found once we corrected her crown height and restored a proper bite, “I woke up the day after treatment headache-free for the first time in a decade.”
If you have frequent headaches, migraines, sore jaws, ear ringing, dizziness, tingling fingers, pain in the neck or shoulders, jaw popping or difficulty opening the mouth fully, bite misalignment is likely the culprit. These problems will only worsen without treatment.
To learn more about your options and the diagnostic process, call 586-739-2155 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. During this time, I’ll answer your questions so you can choose the best way to help resolve the problems associated with TMJ disorder.