Do you awaken to sore or stiff jaw muscles?

a bowl of cereal

Has this happened to you before? You open your mouth and you hear a snap, crackle, and pop, But it’s not coming from a bowl of Rice Krispies. It’s happened before and you thought it would go away. But it hasn’t. Do you awaken to sore or stiff jaw muscles? You’ve tried to figure out the problem, but you can’t. There’s something that can cause either of those problems. I can help you find relief.

Take the TMJ Risk Quiz


Take our quick, 15 second quiz to discover your risk level for TMJ Disorder and begin living a pain free life!

What Are Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ)?

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are located in front of each ear. The joints connect your jaw to your skull. Place your fingers in front of your ears and open your mouth to feel the movement of the joints.

What Are Temporomandibular Joint Disorders?

Temporomandibular joint disorders are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and muscles controlling jaw movement.

These conditions usually fall into three categories.

  • Pain caused by irritation of the muscles that control jaw function.
  • A displacement of the joint from its normal position.
  • A group of degenerative or inflammatory joint disorders affecting the temporomandibular joint.

Possible Causes of TMJ Disorders

  • Teeth clenching or grinding
  • Injury to the jaw
  • Arthritis
  • Infection
  • Dental surgery
  • Hormones
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Genetics

There can be many causes of TMJ disorders as well as some cases where the cause can’t be identified. Take our quick, 15-second quiz to discover your risk level for TMJ disorder and begin living a pain free life!

Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

  • Pain in the chewing muscles and jaw joints
  • Jaw muscle stiffness
  • Pain radiating in the face, jaw, or neck
  • Limited jaw movement
  • Clicking, popping, or grating in the jaw joint when it opens or closes
  • Changes in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together

Facial pain can be caused by other conditions such as sinus or ear infections. Rule out other possible causes first to help identify TMJ disorders. There are several treatment options for patients suffering from TMJ disorders. If you suspect that you have a TMJ disorder, contact my office to schedule a consult.

Fondly,

Dr. Britt

Migraines a symptom of bad bite

woman with fingers at her temples in pain with a migraine

Did you know migraines can be a symptom of a bad bite?

For many people, migraine headaches are a “normal” part of their life. Medications can be used to stop or manage the pain, but the source of the pain is not always determined. Most people don’t think about mentioning headaches or facial muscle pain to their dentist but this type of pain is a common symptom of TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder), also know as TMJ Disorder.

So how does a bad bite fit into this scenario? The position of the jaw joint is determined by how the teeth fit together. If the teeth don’t fit together properly or are not in harmony with the muscles, the muscles and joints accommodate. The misaligned bite often leads to muscles that are in a “tug of war” between teeth coming together thousands of times a day and a relaxed position. This causes fatigue and can lead to headaches.

There are many other symptoms that can be associated with a bad bite. These may include:

  • Jaw joint noise or clicking
  • Limited jaw opening
  • Teeth grinding
  • Neck pain
  • Pain in and around the ear
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Vertigo
  • Numbness radiating down into the arm

By decompressing the TMJ joints and determining an optimal position for the bite, symptoms like the ones listed can be improved and many times, totally eliminated.

Not only does this work for patients with teeth, but the same concept can be used for denture wearers as well.

If you or someone you love is suffering from unexplained headaches, call 912-264-5550 today for a neuromuscular consultation.

Facts on Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain and TMJ Disorder

woman in pain holding her jaw

Did you know that patients who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia commonly have temporomandibular joint dysfunction as well? According to research administered by the National Institutes of Health, fibromyalgia patients have a high incidence of TMJ disorder and exhibit classic TMJ symptoms such as clicking or popping sounds during mouth movement, along with facial pain and muscle pain in the head and neck.

Fibromyalgia is a painful and often debilitating disease. For some people the pain can be so intense, it gives sufferers incapacitating migraines. Patients with fibromyalgia typically experience deep, radiating pain throughout their bodies, especially near joints. Those with fibromyalgia can also experience stiffness and difficulty moving. It is common for migraine medications to be prescribed for these symptoms, offering very little or no relief. That is because the headaches and pains are a result of temporomandibular joint disorder, or a misaligned jaw. Other symptoms of a misaligned jaw or bad bite are ringing in the ear, pain in the face, neck shoulder and back, vertigo or dizziness, tingling or numbness in the fingers, ear pain or stuffiness, TMJ pain and migraine or chronic headaches.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) studied the symptoms of 60 male and female patients with fibromyalgia. Nearly 70% of patients experienced facial pain near the TMJs while 35% of the study’s participants reported TMJ disorder symptoms such as difficulty opening the mouth and discomfort when eating. The NIH concluded that patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia should also be tested for TMJ disorder.

Physiologic dentists are trained in dealing with disorders of the jaw, nerves and muscles in the neck and head, and can help in reducing and even eliminating this type of pain. In order to relieve these symptoms, a bite computer called the K7 is used to determine the optimal position for the jaw joints, muscles and teeth. A custom device called an orthotic is designed for placement over the teeth to reposition the jaw and create a balanced bite. This treatment is also indicated for relief of the other symptoms associated with a bad bite. Physiologic treatment for TMJ disorder is nonsurgical and can be life changing!

Schedule a consultation with me to discuss your symptoms and how to become medication and pain free today!