Two out of every 10 Americans suffers from chronic headaches as they spend over a billion dollars every year for over-the-counter medications to relieve their pain. Many believe they are having “migraines” and they live their lives thinking they will never be without headaches. They never imagine that their headaches may be caused by a bad bite or jaw misalignment.
Advanced neuromuscular dentistry has linked bad bite to jaw-to-skull misalignment which can cause temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome or temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD).
TMJ/TMD is one of the most misunderstood and misdiagnosed conditions in the health field because symptoms often seem unrelated to your bite. Symptoms may include frequent headaches or migraines, facial muscle pain, neck and shoulder pain, jaw joint pain, clicking or popping in the jaw, limited jaw movement, tinnitus (ringing in the ear), vertigo (balance problems), numbness or tingling in the finger tips, and worn or loose teeth. There are TMJ/TMD treatments that will help relieve these symptoms.
The exact cause of the disorder is unknown. Some factors could be related to an improper bite, injury, arthritis, severe stress, or a combination of factors. One possible explanation of this might be that we are living longer and also keeping our teeth longer.
Do You Have Any Of These Symptoms?
Headaches or migraines
Stiffness or soreness in the neck, shoulders and back
Tingling of the fingertips
Clenching or grinding
Ringing in the ears
Limited mouth opening
Understanding your bite will help you comprehend the symptoms of TMJ/TMD and why they are important.
Assuming that your natural bite is in the correct position could be a problem. If your natural bite is not aligned, it puts a lot of stress on your body, causing head and neck pain.
For example, if you are unable to breathe through your nose and breathe mostly through your mouth, your tongue which is a powerful muscle will place considerable forces on your teeth and have a substantial effect on your bite.
Over time, narrowing arches or a jaw that is set too far back may create an imbalanced jaw position, where the body accommodates by posturing the head forward. Repositioning your head may help your jaw muscles work less, but it places great strain on your neck.
Think about it in terms of an injured foot. If you start favoring one foot, soon your posture changes and pain will be felt elsewhere, like your hip.
Neuromuscular dentistry treats the causes and the symptoms without medication or surgery. Using the techniques of neuromuscular dentistry, the jaw can be placed in its ideal position, relieving the symptoms of TMJ/TMD.
The goal is to eliminate the TMJ/TMD pain caused by overworked muscles, allowing a stable bite where muscles are as balanced and relaxed as possible. When muscles are relaxed, TMJ/TMD pain disappears.
So, next time you reach for that medication think of what it would be like to be pain free. Call a neuromuscular dentist for comprehensive exam and see how you can improve the quality of your life living without pain.