Serving Amarillo, Canyon, Dalhart and the surrounding Texas Panhandle
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ/TMD) occurs when the jaw enters a state of dysfunction, and it often results in pain that radiates to your head, neck, and even entire body. The effects of TMD can result in widespread, chronic pain throughout the body. In fact, many physicians misdiagnose TMD as another disorder because they are not trained in neuromuscular dentistry.
This may leave you wondering if you have TMD. The best way to determine if you have TMD is to undergo a consultation with neuromuscular dentist Dr. Clinton Esler, although we have complied a list of the most common symptoms related to this jaw joint disorder.
Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include, but are not limited to:
- Jaw pain
- Facial pain
- Bruxism (grinding or clenching teeth)
- Tooth wear or pain (from bruxism)
- Pressure or pain felt behind or around the eyes
- Tension of muscles in face
- Ringing or tinnitus in ears
- Tension or pain in neck
- Tingling or numbness in arms or fingers
- Poor posture
- Referred pain in arms or legs
These symptoms of TMD can be felt throughout the body, not just the jaw joints, which is no wonder why many primary care physicians simply end up masking the problem with medication. They never really treat the problem at the source; the source being the jaw misalignment that leads to the jaw joint disorder. Masking symptoms may help provide a sense of relief for the patient, but the frequency to which their pain and discomfort occurs does not go away.
Who should treat TMD?
A trained and skilled neuromuscular dentist should be the one to treat a case of TMD. A neuromuscular dentist seeks to find harmony and balance among the mouth, tongue, jaw, and head, including the bones and muscles. Not all dentists focus in this area. If you experience chronic pain, and feel as though you are only masking your pain, you could have TMD.
When TMJ disorder is left untreated, it only gets worse with time. This means that occasional jaw joint discomfort turns into frequent pain, which then radiates to the head causing chronic headaches, to backaches, to chronic pain throughout the body. It essentially creates a domino effect, with pain that could even be felt in the lower extreimities such as the legs.
If you suffer from chronic pain such as migraines or fibromyalgia, it could be related to untreated TMJ disorder. Since chronic pain can be hard to pinpoint by most physicians, you should consider a consultation with a neuromuscular dentist. Get you life back, and live pain free now by visiting the office of the Esler Dental Group.
How can TMD cause widespread pain throughout the body?
It is due to our anatomy, really. One of the most prominent nerves in the body is the trigeminal nerve. It runs from our lower jaw, through the jaw joint, and to the spinal cord. If the jaw falls into a state of dysfunction from either teeth grinding or an uneven bite, this nerve becomes irritated from surrounding inflammation and tension. Thus, sending pain to the head, and eventually to the neck and back, if left untreated.
Every part of our bodies is designed to work together. Think of it like a car – the wheels must be in proper alignment in order for the rest of the car to drive smooth. If ignored, a misaligned wheel will result in wear and tear on your tires, brakes, and eventually could wear down your vehicle, costing you even more money in the long run to fix. This same analogy applies to our bodies, specifically our teeth and jaw joints.
Relief for TMJ disorder is just around the corner at the Esler Dental Group. By using state-of-the-art techniques and equipment, Dr. Esler can determine the exact resting position your jaw needs to be in to feel comfortable and provide relief from your TMJ disorder. We do this by designing a specially made oral appliance that is adjustable to fit your changing needs for TMD treatment. The purpose of the oral appliance is to hold your lower jaw into proper alignment while you sleep. We may need to have you return to our office occasionally, for Dr. Esler to assess your results, and make any adjustments to your oral appliance, if needed.
In some cases, Dr. Esler may need to reconstruct your bite by replacing missing teeth or repairing severely damaged teeth that are contributing to an uneven bite. If this is the case for you, Dr. Esler will take the time to discuss an individualized treatment plan to fit your needs, all while treating your TMJ disorder.
Take the next step
If you suffer from symptoms related to TMJ disorder, contact the Esler Dental Group by calling (806) 358-8021.
The Esler Dental Group is proud to serve patients in Amarillo, Canyon, Dalhart and the surrounding Texas Panhandle.