Do you suffer from tension in the jaw, muscle soreness, and frequent headaches? Your bite may be to blame! The way your teeth bite and fit together (your occlusion) is extremely important to your overall dental and jaw joint health. If your teeth do not fit together properly, your muscles and joints work hard to accommodate the misalignment. This constant overworking of the muscular system as it tries to adapt to an unhealthy bite can lead to some very painful and debilitating conditions. Dr. Pete Nathe offers TMJ and headache treatments in Yakima, Washington, to help relieve your discomfort and restore your jaw to its proper function. Give us a call at (509) 941-2957 to learn more about TMJ treatments and to make your appointment with our skilled dentist at Yakima Smiles.
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders manifest through a variety of painful symptoms, including:
- Facial pain
- Jaw joint pain
- Back and neck pain
- Postural problems
- Limited opening or lock jaw
- Tension headaches
- Extensive wear of the teeth
- Tender/sensitive teeth
- Ringing in the ears and ear congestion
- Sinus symptoms
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Tingling in fingers
- Pain behind eyes
- Muscle fatigue and tenderness
- Gum recession
Causes of Bite Misalignment
Extensive research and scientific documentation has shown that an unhealthy or unbalanced bite is caused by:
- Breathing or allergy issues as a child
- Thumb sucking
- Some types of retraction orthodontics
- Bicuspid extractions
- Unbalanced dental treatment
- Shifting of teeth after tooth loss
- Old dentistry that has broken down or worn out
The Outcome of a Bad Bite
The Muscle vs. Tooth War
If your muscles and joints are strained as a result of a bad bite, then the Muscle/Tooth War is triggered. Three things may happen and none of them are good:
- If your muscles win, you have elevated tooth wear.
- If your teeth win, you will have muscle tension which leads to headaches and other pains.
- Many people experience a combination of 1 2.
Complete and accurate diagnosis with the special computerized technology of the Myotronics K7 unit is used to obtain very detailed information about your muscles and joints. Mandibular scanning and jaw tracking allows our neuromuscular dentist to measure and study range of motion, including the muscle activity and the status of the joints.
Electromyography measures muscle activity:
Electrosonography assesses status of the articular joint by detecting abnormal jaw joint clicking and popping, which indicates cartilage damage.
The muscles of the face, shoulders and jaw are relaxed with a TENS device called a myomonitor. This muscle stimulator delivers a mild electrical current that exercises these muscles until they relax.
Records are then taken in the comfortable, relaxed “neuromuscular” bite and sent to a specialized dental lab. The lab fabricates a comfortable, custom plastic orthotic.
An orthotic is simply an appliance custom fitted to your teeth that will maintain your bite in a precise position. It is worn for a period of time to relieve jaw joint symptoms and to treat TMD, or may be an interim step to verify your correct bite prior to considering permanent alteration of your bite with orthodontics or crowns.
Neuromuscular Dentistry: Changing Lives
Neuromuscular dentistry is on the forefront of TMD treatment and headache therapy. This growing field of high-tech dentistry considers the entire system that controls the positioning of the jaw and seeks to establish a harmonious relationship between the teeth, muscles and jaw joint. Please view the video below to see how neuromuscular dentistry can help treat your TMJ and give you back a pain-free life!
For more information about TMJ and headache treatments and to schedule your consultation with our experienced dentist, please contact Yakima Smiles today.