Do you have headaches with dull, aching pain in and around the ear jaw joint and jaw muscles? These are usually caused by TMJ.

The pain may radiate up the side of the scalp (temporal headache), back of the head or down into the neck. It is often made worse by chewing, excessive talking or yawning. Accompanying the pain may be difficulty in opening the mouth or clicking and popping or grinding sounds in the jaw joint. Tenderness in the jaw muscles is a common finding. TMJ headaches are often diagnosed improperly as Migraines or tension headaches.

Often TMJ dysfunction is associated with a bad bite (the way the teeth meet and work together). An unbalanced bite often triggers grinding of the teeth (bruxing) as the body attempts to correct the uneven and stressful bite. Bruxing generates forces up to 43 times the normal force of chewing food, disrupts the sleep cycle, and causes breakdown of the teeth, muscles and joints.

Treatment is usually non- invasive and often non-surgical, and often can eliminate the symptoms in a few days. Using removable appliances, much like a clear retainer, Dr. Howard can gently reposition the muscles and joints into the most comfortable and least stressful position. Equilibration (balancing the bite) is often indicated, to allow the teeth function to function in balance and in harmony with the most comfortable joint position. Balancing of the bite involves selectively re-contouring and polishing specific areas of the teeth to eliminate harmful forces that trigger the aches and pains.

To schedule an appointment or consult a dentist call Classic Smiles today.