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About TMJ (TMD)
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD) afflicts some 25 million Americans. Symptoms range from head and neck and facial pain, jaw locking, popping, clicking, difficulty chewing, soreness, dizziness, ringing in the ears, ear pain, neck aches, headaches, lower back pain, depression and more. Most of these cases are traumatically induced – whiplash, jaw mal-position, blow to the head, to name a few.
The typical symptoms of these injuries are complicated and multi-factorial. The victim often sees numerous doctors, yet the underlying injuries will go undetected and unresolved. Those victims with pains and complaints that last more than a few weeks without effective treatment will become victims of CHRONIC PAIN IN DISTRESS with all the emotional and physical ramifications therein. The victim’s case is often determined by competing subjective medical opinions.
NOTE: Disorders of the Temporomandibular Joint can mimic other dental and medical problems. A proper diagnosis regarding head and neck pain is very important because serious medical problems such as vascular disorders, brain tumors, aneurisms, cervical disc disorders, throat and oral cancer, etc. can produce similar symptoms of TMJ disorders. It is important to inform your dental office of any change in your health history from that was previously provided.
RECOGNIZING THE SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Without seeing the bigger picture of how your dentistry fits into your overall health could result in dental treatment that may affect your life style and daily comfort.
Many of these dental related signs present themselves very early in childhood development. Narrow dental arches with aberrant tongue posturing problems can impact the teeth contributing to a deep bite syndrome. Facial development may be impaired with decreased nasal breathing (mouth breathing problems) resulting in vaulted upper palates, effecting the tongue posturing and swallowing habits. These abnormalities in turn effect the bite (occlusion) of the teeth and stability of the head, neck and posture.
Worn, chipped or broken teeth with lower teeth crowding are all indicators that mal alignment of the jaws are present. Tipped, lingually inclined teeth are usual indicators of a lower jaw vertical deficiency which in turn effects the jaw muscles and jaw joints. Clicking and popping or grating joints are never normal, but an indication that the disc in the jaw joints are being displaced. (Similar to a displaced disc in the spine). Temporal headaches, facial tenderness (sometimes mimicking sinus problems), jaw pain and pain behind the head/neck region are indicators and red flags that indicate a lack of occlusal support contributing to an upward head posture with cervical neck and shoulder tenderness. Some patients will have unresolved tingling in their hands and fingers with rolled inward shoulders and never once realize that it could be related to a poor bite.
Teeth sensitivity from odd skids in the bite due to poor gearing of the teeth can lead to clenching and grinding of the teeth. Having these signs and symptoms properly resolved by your dentist prior to performing any extensive restorative dentistry is highly recommend and in your best interest. These are just some of the signs and symptoms that people are discovering should not be ignored and relate to their dental treatment.
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