What Causes TMJ Disorders?
TMJ disorders are a group of loosely related conditions identified together primarily because of their common symptoms, such as jaw pain and headaches, including migraines, all centered around dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). There are many approaches to the treatment of TMJ disorders, with neuromuscular dentistry being one of the most focused and successful.
If you are tired of being given unsuccessful treatments for your symptoms, often with side effects worse than the disorder, we can help. Or if you feel your doctor is not really listening to your symptoms or dismissing them, we will listen. If you’re tired of listening to doctors who all say the same thing, we have a fresh perspective. Please call (248) 480-0085 or email us for an appointment with Detroit TMJ dentist Dr. Jeffrey Haddad today.
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or sometimes TMD), is sometimes described as a mysterious condition because its many symptoms can make it hard to diagnose. We can help if you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to get care for any of the following symptoms:
- Headaches (including migraines)
- Jaw pain
- Jaw clicking, popping, or irregular motion
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus), vertigo, and ear pain
- Face and neck pain
- Shoulder and back pain
- Tooth damage and wear
- Tingling and numbness in the face, neck, jaw, arms, or fingers
These symptoms are often attributed to other illnesses, sometimes individually or sometimes jointly, but they can all be linked to TMJ.
What Is TMJ?
Many people are surprised and dismayed at the diversity of symptoms caused by TMJ. How can one illness result in so many symptoms, they ask.
In its simplest form, it’s an irregularity in the function of one or both temporomandibular joints, the joints that link the lower jaw to the skull. This basic dysfunction might take the form of displaced cushioning discs in the jaw joint, or it might be irregular motion or an irregular resting position. For some people, that’s all it is, but for many people, it develops into something much more complex.
The temporomandibular joints are located at the crossroads of the body. Many of the body’s most important nerves pass by or even through the temporomandibular joint. Some of the body’s largest blood vessels are in that area. And the body’s vital airway passes right between the temporomandibular joints.
With such a complex and crowded environment, it’s no wonder that a simple jaw dysfunction can lead to far-ranging effects. Inefficient muscle movements can make the jaw muscles sore—facial pain—and lead the jaw to recruit assistance from neck muscles, causing neck pain. Pinched nerves can lead to headaches, tingling, and numbness. And the ear, with its delicate hearing and balance organs, is actually located in the temporal bone—part of the temporomandibular joint.
Neuromuscular dentistry is an approach to your jaw health that focuses on the harmonious relationship between the muscles, bones, cartilage, and nerves of the jaw system. An important foundation of this approach is that if the jaw is in a healthy, relaxed position and capable of free and open movement through its entire range, it won’t pinch nerves or stress partner muscles.
TMJ treatment through neuromuscular dentistry involves identifying your jaw’s healthy, relaxed position and then helping it stay there through the use of a bite splint or even reconstructive dentistry. Although neuromuscular dentistry is very successful for many people, it’s not the only approach to TMJ treatment, and it can be supplemented with physical therapy, laser therapy, medication, or surgery as appropriate.
If you want to learn how TMJ is causing your symptoms and learn how treatment can help and live in the Detroit area, please call (248) 480-0085 or email us for an appointment at the Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness.
Self Screening: Are You at Risk for TMJ?