TMJ, Facial Pain & Headaches
Neuromuscular Dentistry is an area of Dental Medicine which evaluates and treats how your muscles, teeth and joints all work together. It can be an effective approach for the management of headaches, migraines and other forms of chronic pain.
Do the muscles in your neck and shoulders often feel tight? Do you deal with the pain of frequent headaches or migraines? Do you grind your teeth while you sleep? Do you feel discomfort in your jaw or pain behind your eyes?
Any or all of these symptoms can be caused by an imbalance or dysfunction in the Temporomandibular (Jaw) Joint (TMJ) and this condition is known as Temporomandibular Dysfunction (TMD).
Neuromuscular Dentistry can often bring relief to sufferers of debilitating, chronic head and neck pain.Muscle Relaxant Injections have also been found to be a highly affective and safe way to treat the painful symptoms of TMD that are brought on by excessive contraction of the muscles associated with clenching or grinding of the teeth, also known as ‘Bruxism’.
Muscle relaxant treatment for management of the pain associated with TMJ pain (TMD) and Bruxism usually lasts approximately between 4 to 6 months. It can offer significant improvements to a sufferer’s quality of life.
- The TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull. It is found just in front of your ear.
- The joint has a small cushioning disc between the two bones. This disc allows sideways and forward movement and when damaged or displaced it can be an important factor in the pain process.
- Pain and functional issues linked to the TMJ and its associated muscles are referred to as TMD (Temporomandibular disorders).
- If the muscles spasm, you can be left with your jaw locked in an open or closed position. This can be particularly disconcerting and painful.
- If you suspect TMD related pain, please contact us immediately. The more you wait, the more difficult it can be to relieve the pain or relax a lock.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF TMD?
TMD can be difficult to diagnose as it can present with a wide range of signs and symptoms. One or many of the items listed below may be present:
- Effects on Associated Muscles: The most common symptoms are related to the surrounding muscles.
- Headache and Facial PainOften it’s one sided and in the area of the temple or near the cheeks. Pain may occur particularly on or after chewing, or first thing in the morning.
- Neck or Shoulder PainPain from the jaw muscles may spread (via shared nerves) to nearby head and neck muscles.
- Difficulty in Opening or Closing Your Mouth Middle Ear Effects: Ear pain or ringing in the ears can occur. A feeling of blocked ears and dizziness is also possible.
- Sinus and Eye Pain: Pain in the area of your sinuses or behind your eyes can be related to referred pain from jaw muscles.
- Bite Change: Different rates of spasming of surrounding muscles can temporarily change in the way your teeth come together.
- Effects On The Joint Itself
- Damaged Teeth
WHAT ARE THE FACTORS INVOLVED WITH TMD?
TMD is made up of a complex family of conditions and is influenced by environment, genes, behaviour and sex. Many TMD patients also suffer a variety of other painful conditions that affect other areas of the body but their exact links are unclear. The most common of these are fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic headaches, depression, and sleep disturbances. It’s becoming increasingly obvious, as we further understand the complexity of TMD, that further research involving many medical disciplines will be needed to completely unravel its secrets.
The following issues can contribute to TMD:
- Sleep disorders such as snoring and sleep apnoea
- Neck / back problems
- Major trauma
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Treatment For TMD
Although a special joint, the TMJ has much in common with any other joint in the body and therefore its problems and solutions are similar. Most people can be spared the expensive and invasive treatments of the past. Modern treatment for TMD is far more conservative than in the past. Most treatment is aimed at relieving the symptoms and preventing future damage.