Temporomandibular disorder (TMJ, TMJD or TMD) is a painful disorder with many symptoms that affects the temporomandibular joint, an area that includes the hinge jaw joint (the bridge for the lower jaw or mandible). It also affects the temporal bone of the skull located in front of each ear, as well as the muscles surrounding the jaw and the jaw itself.
This area of the face contributes to chewing, bite (occlusion) and jaw movement. Therefore, TMJ disorder compromises jaw flexibility and may cause pain at rest or during common movements such as talking, chewing and yawning.
The pain and discomfort caused by TMJ disorder may be severe. It can be intermittent for some patients. Other patients can experience constant pain and symptoms, and it may last for many years.
What are the Symptoms and Causes of TMD/TMJ?
Symptoms can vary and include:
- Pain around your ears
- Pain in your jaw, tooth, face, neck, or shoulders
- Clicking or popping of your jaw (jaw instability)
- Inability to open your mouth in a normal range of motion
- Grinding your teeth
- Ringing or fullness in your ears
- Migraine headaches or any other type of headaches
- Sinus pressure and lack of draining
There are many causes TMD/TMJ, including:
- Braces/dental work
- Stress/teeth grinding
- Dental malocclusions
- Missing or bad teeth
- Muscle abuse/overuse
Treating the Three Components of TMD/TMJ
There are three components of TMD/TMJ, and if your dentist or doctor is not treating all three, your chances of success go down dramatically. These are imbalance of the bite/occlusion; imbalance in the muscles and joints of the jaw, head and neck; and stress imbalance and home care.
Imbalance of the Bite/Occlusion
For years, dentists have had to use a large amount of guesswork in diagnosing dental occlusion. Imprecise tools such as articulation paper, waxes, and pressure indicator paste were all we had to assess and balance the forces of the bite with the muscles and joints of the head and neck. Most of these methods are not sensitive enough to detect simultaneous contact, and none measure both biting time and force–critical components in diagnosing TMD.
Successful diagnosis and treatment of your TMJ condition requires state-of-the-art technology. We use the only computerized test that can accurately and objectively measure your bite/occlusion/bite. Do not leave your bite to chance!
Imbalance of the Muscles and Joints of the Jaw, Head and Neck
We use four modalities to balance and relax the muscles and joints of the jaw, head, and neck:
- Ultrasound helps break up scar tissue and adhesions and bring blood flow to the area. Ultrasound works on the deeper muscles and tissues, using penetrating sound waves and heat.
- Massage helps relax the muscles, bring blood flood to the area, stimulate healing, and locate “trigger points” in the muscles. Trigger points are tiny knots or balls in the muscle that contain lactic acid and create pain wind-up loops. These trigger points refer pain from the muscle to other areas of the body. For example, a trigger point in the upper shoulder may refer pain into the jaw and/or face.
- Alpha-Stim microcurrent helps break up the trigger points located through massage. Alpha-Stim sends a low electrical current that produces ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the major source of energy for cellular reactions), which relaxes and unwinds the trigger point. This action releases the build-up of lactic acid, and the pain both in that area and in the referring areas is reduced. Alpa-Stim microcurrent is FDA-cleared and clinically-proven. The dose of “microcurrent” that it delivers is almost undetectable. This microcurrent attempts to mimic the body’s own natural electrical functions.
- Low-level laser increases the healing time of the muscles and joints by 25-35%! The low-level laser uses a nonheat laser light to send a signal to the muscles and nerves to produce ATP – energy – thereby allowing the muscles to relax, increasing blood flow to the area, and reducing pain. Then, the laser sends a signal to the brain to help inhibit pain.
Stress Imbalance and Home Care
We offer a complete home-care program designed to reduce and manage pain and headaches. This program includes the use of neck ice packs, home exercise instructions, MSM lotion and capsules, biofeedback and relaxation recordings, and microcurrent units. Microcurrent units apply low-level electrical current to nerves and muscle-motor fibers via electrodes (patches) placed on the skin. This treatment works to reduce swelling, pain, and muscle spasms, improve circulation, and strengthen muscles.
TMD and Migraine or Tension Headaches
The most common TMD complaint is migraine headache accompanied by jaw, head, neck, and/or shoulder pain. Migraine headaches usually start in the forehead, temples, or back of the head. Those who clench or grind their teeth may also develop migraine-like headaches. Although the majority of migraines and TMJ headaches have various causes, they all have one thing in common: dysfunction of the temporal mandibular joint of the jaw.
Most migraine headaches have two common attributes:
- Tenderness in the muscles of the jaw, head, neck, and face are “hot spots” in the muscles – called trigger points – which create pain “wind-up loops” that cause migraine headaches and referral pain patterns.
- Clenching of the teeth (or bruxism)
The good news is that these migraine headaches and other headaches along with the associated pain can be treated effectively. There’s no need to continue to live with migraine headache pain when you can get relief from these symptoms naturally without drugs.
TENSION HEADACHES AND MIGRAINE HEADACHES ARE AMONG THE MOST COMMON SYMPTOMS OF TMJ DYSFUNCTION!
Dr. Gorman Can Help You Find Relief from Your TMD/TMJ Pain
As a highly trained dental practitioner in the treatment of TMD, Dr. Gorman has spent years learning and practicing the most advanced technology and research to bring relief to TMD patients. The heart of our practice is to help you find freedom from TMJ and related symptoms – especially TMJ tension headaches and migraine headaches.
Dr. Gorman’s firm commitment to his patients is to provide relief from migraine headaches, teeth grinding, jaw popping and clicking, fullness and ringing in ears, as well as any jaw, face, head, or neck pain related to TMJ. His approach is a comprehensive program for treating all TMJ problems.
We starts with a complete in-office assessment, including computer evaluation of head/neck/biting forces and their relationship to healthy muscle and joint positioning. We also use specific splint therapy, massage therapy, laser therapy, and ultrasound. We back up this assessment with outstanding home products, such as a painless microcurrent unit that gently helps heal muscles and joints and relieves head and neck pain.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Gorman to receive your full assessment and begin your life without TMD/TMJ pain!