Temporomandibular Joint Disorders – (TMD, TMJ)
Millions of Americans suffer from TMJ and craniofacial disorders. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. It is the joint that connects the lower jawbone to the skull. The human TMJ and jaw is essentially a lever system, complex in structure. Unfortunately this system is not ideal in design, often inefficient and subject to problems. Symptoms associated with this disorder include one or more of the following: chronic headaches and migraines, pain and ringing in the ears, vertigo (dizziness), sore/painful facial muscles, pain and/or stiffness in the neck, shoulder, and back. These symptoms are often so severe thus disabling one from normal daily activities and altering one’s quality of life.
Many of these symptoms are a result of poorly aligned teeth and an unbalanced “bad” bite. A bad bite can be caused by one or more of the following:
- Clenching/grinding teeth
- Orthodontic misalignment
- High dental restorations (ie. crowns and filling)
In these circumstances, the TMJ and muscles have to work harder to bring teeth together in order to function properly. There is also a tendency for excessive subconscious clenching and/or grinding during the day and night while trying to find balance in the bite. As a result, teeth wear down and can fracture, and the TMJ and surrounding muscles become strained and fatigued.
Drs. Anthony and Jane Ferrera works with board certified craniopathic specialists utilizing cranial-dental procedures in treating these TMJ disorders. Working together, a balanced bite is achieved. Treatment might include bite adjustments (removing and re-contouring high spots and premature contacts on teeth and restorations), and/or fabrication of an occlusal (bite) splint orthotic to protect the jaw and muscles from clenching/grinding.
Other times more involved procedures are necessary including one or more of the following:
- Orthodontics (braces) to move teeth into a more balanced and physiologic position
- Prosthetic solutions where restorations are placed on badly worn, broken-down, missing restorations and teeth in order to restore and stabilize function and balance in the bite.
If you have any of these symptoms or have questions please call our office to schedule a TMJ consultation appointment for a complete exam and a review of your options.