The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the small ball-and-socket joint that connects the jaw to the skull. It’s responsible for your ability to bite, chew, and speak. Unfortunately, it can also cause patients with TMJ disorder (TMJ/TMD) a great deal of pain, especially migraine-like headaches. Amarillo TMJ dentist Dr. Clinton Esler is an expert in neuromuscular dentistry, the dental field that deals with disorders of the TMJ. Please contact us today at (806) 576-3076 to schedule your TMJ headache consultation.
What is TMJ?
Strictly speaking, TMJ is the temporomandibular joint itself. But in common parlance, TMJ also refers to the wide range of neuromuscular disorders that result from problems with the joint.
What are the Symptoms of TMJ?
Severe, debilitating headaches are among the most common symptoms of TMJ disorders, but patients often experience a wide range other symptoms as well:
- Clicking or popping of the jaw, especially when chewing
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Dizziness (vertigo)
- Stiff, sore muscles in the neck, shoulders, and back
- Frequent sinus problems
- Migraine headaches
If any of these accompany your frequent headaches, there may be good reason to suspect a TMJ disorder.
Is TMJ common?
It’s estimated that more than 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ disorders. Most victims aren’t aware that they have it, and even fewer realize that relief is available. Some patients may visit primary care physicians to seek relief from their debilitating headaches, but many general practitioners simply prescribe pain medication. However, pain medication may only mask the symptoms.
How is the Neuromuscular Dental Approach Different?
Dr. Clinton Esler is highly trained in neuromuscular dentistry, the part of dentistry that addresses problems with the nerves and muscles that interact with the TMJ. Rather than simply address the painful symptoms of TMJ, a neuromuscular dentist tries to uncover and treat the root cause. Most commonly, TMJ disorders are related to a misalignment of the jaw. Neuromuscular dentists work to reduce TMJ symptoms by addressing problems with the joint itself.
How is TMJ treated?
Once we’ve made a positive diagnosis, then treatment usually consists of two phases. The first phase aims to reduce your symptoms through a combination of medication, massage, and other modalities, including nighttime use of an oral appliance. Once your day-to-day pain is under control, Dr. Esler creates a long-term plan to bring your bite back into alignment. This may include any number of dental therapies all of which work together to restore your jaw and your health.
TMJ headaches rank among life’s most painful experiences, but if you suffer from TMJ, today’s advanced dental approach may provide lasting relief. Please contact the Esler Dental Group today at (806) 576-3076 to arrange a consultation with Amarillo TMJ dentist Dr. Clinton Esler.
Below is a video that shows our advanced technological techniques and treatments to remedy TMJ symptoms and the horrible headaches and migraines associated with them: