About everyone has driven behind a vehicle that obviously had a wheel out of alignment. Seeing this, most drivers cringe knowing this imbalance can lead to unusual wear and tear.
Balance is important, especially so when it comes to the body. Its interworking parts are structured for a harmonious balance, such as with the hips or spinal column. This balance is noticeably true of the “coming together” of upper and lower teeth as well.
For biting and chewing harmony, the upper and lower teeth are designed to work together. A smooth interaction supports the interactive functions of chewing and speaking. However, the delicate balance of how teeth meet can be disrupted by very slight disparities.
When you think of how upper and teeth function, it makes sense that an imbalance can interfere with the actions of chewing and speaking. However, it is not commonly understood that disharmony here can affect seemingly unrelated structures. Bite misalignment can actually have a number of far-reaching effects.
The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are located on each side of the head in front of the ears. These joints hinge the lower jaw to the skull. Each time you bite, chew, or speak, the hinges inside the joints rotate.
A misaligned bite can cause to become strained or stressed. When teeth are not functioning together harmoniously, neither do the joints. Continual stress on these joints can lead to inflammation that triggers a number of problems – some seemingly unrelated.
Teeth that fail to meet properly can “hit wrong.” This is a common cause of teeth that are chipped, broken, or cracked. Too, the strain in the jaw joints during sleep can activate a subconscious search for a harmonious position as the jaw seeks a comfortable position. This is typically the cause of clenching or grinding of teeth.
The forces of grinding can also cause worn teeth (teeth that are flattened off at the tops). The forces of grinding can be severe enough to crack a walnut. With these strong grinding forces, it’s easy to see why this strain on surrounding muscles and other structures can lead to waking up with headaches or sore jaw joints.
In addition to tooth damage and clenching and grinding, migraines and/or frequent headaches can occur. As inflammation from the jaw joints extends into the ear chamber, it can cause ear ringing and dizziness. This tension can also lead to sore facial, neck and shoulder muscles as well as tingling down the arm or in the fingers.
A neuromuscular dentist has advanced training in the congruity of all structures affected by bite misalignment, including TMJ disorders. And, as a neuromuscular dentist who has devoted herself to the highest level of training in this area, Dr. Ban Barbat has also incorporated advanced technology to aid in the proper diagnosis of bite disparities. This helps to locate the true source of pain and treat it with the most conservative measures needed.
It’s amazing how successful treatment can change lives. Some patients suffer for years or even decades with headaches, dizziness, and migraines only to be told that their pain was imagined. Some are given muscle relaxers so strong they feel like zombies during the day. Others live in fear that a migraine is right around the corner.
Cliff, a recent patient, was dealing with ear pain and jaw dislocation, which had gotten worse over the years. While chewing or speaking, he would sometimes need to hold his jaw in place. Although unaware, Cliff was also grinding his teeth, a problem that had not been noted in prior dental exams.
Owning a business that required speaking with clients face-to-face, Cliff knew he needed to find a solution. An online search brought him to Dr. Barbat. After an accurate diagnosis that pinpointed the imbalance, Cliff had treatment that included an oral appliance. “I’m very much better,” Cliff states. “I have no pain and no speaking or chewing issues.”
Although some people are deterred by the cost of diagnosis and therapy for TMJ disorder (which is typically not covered by insurance), Cliff knows it was money well spent. “It worked!” Cliff shares.
If you are suffering with symptoms of TMJ disorder or suspect your bite is misaligned, successful treatment – without concerning medications – may be able to overcome the problem(s) within a few weeks or months. In the right hands, pain and discomfort can be resolved so you can enjoy life without the debilitating issues associated with TMJ disorder.
To begin, call 586-739-2155 or tap here to schedule a no-charge consultation. During this time, we can discuss your symptoms and medical/dental histories. I’ll explain our diagnostic process and answer your questions thoroughly. From there, you can determine how you wish to go forward.