Toronto TMJ Treatment | Headhaches or Migranes?

Managing Stress to Help Your Jaw Rest
You may spend most of your life unaware of the important little triangular-shaped joints located in front of your ears. Lined with cartilage, these joints move with a smooth, gliding motion. Under normal conditions, they join your lower jaw and temporal bone, allowing your mouth to open and close easily. However, stress or an improper bite can cause the joints to dysfunction, exposing nerve endings to create pain. In fact, the temporomandibular joint is highly sensitive to overall physical, emotional, and psychological stress. It is affected by the mechanics of your bite and the condition of your jaw muscles. A little extra stress, a little extra fatigue, a little change in your bite, and you may temporarily knock the whole system out of balance. The resulting TMJ disorder, or TMD, can create a variety of mild to severe symptoms, from jaw clicking and minor discomfort to sharp pain in your temple, ear, neck, and shoulders.

The condition is very common in our culture, so we evaluate every patient for TMJ dysfunction at their regular dental exam. If we detect a problem, our goals are to arrest it, protect teeth from further damage, and correct underlying bite misalignment. Therapy may involve fitting you with a physiologic bite appliance, suggesting ways to alleviate stress, and recommending symptom relief measures. Typically, TMJ patients need to avoid chewing gum or hard, chewy food, take small bites, and alternate chewing between both sides of the mouth. Good nutrition will help the joint heal more quickly; good posture will also help relieve discomfort. A straight back, relaxed neck, and side-sleeping position are also helpful. To relieve soreness, light temple and jaw massage will stimulate circulation and relax the muscles. If pain is present, we suggest alternating moist heat and cold for 20 minutes to further increase circulation. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or analgesics can be very helpful as well.

Neuromuscular Dentistry

What is NEUROMUSCULAR DENTISTRY and how does it differ from common dentistry.

Neuromuscular dentistry differs from "traditional" dentistry in the emphasis that is placed upon the activity of the muscles that move the jaw. Unlike neuromuscular dentistry, traditional dentistry uses the position that the teeth come together and the position where the jaw joint is positioned in a joint space in the skull as a reference point to restore the teeth.

Neuromuscular dentistry recognizes that the muscles that move the jaw must be in a comfortable, relaxed position in order to not be in conflict with the teeth and joint.

Common symptoms that occur when teeth, jaws and muscles are in conflict include:

> Headaches
> Loose teeth
> Worn, chipped, or cracked teeth or fillings
> Clenching or grinding
> Ditched root grooves
> Pain or clicking and popping in joints
> Shoulder, neck, and back pain
> Numbness in arms and fingers
> Pain behind the eyes
> Facial pain
> Difficulty swallowing
> Pain and sensitivity in teeth
> Crowded teeth
> Receding gums
> Ringing or congestion in the ears

For more information about TMJ, TMD, or neuromuscular dentistry, call our Toronto dental office. We want to help you receive the relief you deserve.

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