TMJ treatment can provide relief to an estimated 50 million Americans. The fact that many dentists and physicians fail to diagnose this disorder — or do not have an effective treatment protocol for it — means that many people in the Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson areas are suffering needlessly with TMJ disorder.
Symptoms include head, neck, and even back aches. Patients with TMJ problems may also complain of earaches, bouts of deafness, or ringing in the ears. Clicking and popping can occur with chewing. Some patients experience dizziness, chronic fatigue, and difficulty swallowing.
TMJ dysfunction usually starts with jaw misalignment from some source. Finding that source is the difficult part of treating TMJ pain. When there’s an imbalance in the jaw, the muscles in the neck and shoulders try to compensate, causing pains and headaches that can’t be relieved until the jaw is realigned. Likewise, the reverse can be true; if the muscles in the neck and shoulders are in spasm, the jaw can be pulled out of alignment.
Poor posture, including the way you hold your head, carry your torso, or even the way you stand, can cause muscle imbalance that affects jaw motion as well. In fact, anything that may disturb normal muscle function, such as ligaments, nerve, or even disk disease can cause TMJ pain.
If someone believes the pain is starting from their jaw, they are likely to go to their dentist for help. His first priority will be to ensure there is no dental disease or other urgent situation. Having ruled this out, it is likely he will want to correct jaw alignment with the goal of restoring normal function and reducing muscle spasm.
We Help What Hurts How do dentists realign the jaws? They use special dental splints and reposition the teeth using grinding procedures to produce a better fit between the upper and lower teeth. In a small number of instances, surgery inside the joint itself may be required. In these instances, careful rehabilitation of both jaw and associated muscle function post-operatively is essential.
Often it is not so obvious that the pain from TMJ dysfunction is, in fact, coming from the jaw. Frequently people are sent to Ear, Nose & Throat specialists to make sure there is not a problem from one of the facial structures that simply “referred”, or sent pain signals to the jaw. If this proves not to be the case, a headache doctor, or Physiatrist (a muscle and nerve specialist) may get involved instead.
More often than not, there will be associated problems with surrounding muscles, nerves, ligaments or even disk disease. In this instance, the medical doctor places emphasis on restoring structure and function of the tissues involved. After any required diagnostic testing ” is completed, treatments offered include a variety of non-surgical specialty care techniques that are directed toward the underlying source.
Treating the whole person can be very important with TMJ pain. Hormonal imbalance, stress and environmental factors are just a few perpetrating factors. In the ideal world, a knowledgeable doctor and dentist will work together to ensure a favorable outcome.