Holistic dentist in Annandale, VA provides effective TMJ treatment
Ninety percent of headaches are associated with muscle contraction. Ninety percent of those muscle contraction headaches are TMJ-related and coupled with stress from clenching of the teeth or poor postural habits (eg. forward head position). Dr. Richard Fischer and his team at Evergreen Dental Wellness in Annandale, VA provide healthy TMJ treatment that addresses these underlying concerns, for the benefit of the entire body.
What happens to healthy jaw joints?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) gets its name from the two bones which comprise it. The temporal bone of the skull and the mandible (lower jaw) fit together just in front of the ear to form a hinge-like jaw joint. When simply opening and closing the mouth, the TMJ acts as a fulcrum. However, when chewing there is a more complex movement allowing for the grinding action of teeth.
You can observe or palpate this by placing your fingers on these joints and moving your jaw side to side. There should be smooth movement with no unusual sounds as the TMJ moves through its complete range of motion. If clicking, popping, or grating sounds are felt or heard, this indicates the joint is not functioning normally. Such jaw disarticulations can occur from accidents and facial traumas. More commonly, TMJ disorders result from malocclusion (improper bite) due to a disturbed eruption pattern of teeth in children (be sure to visit the Healthy Start page on this website for more information), or to missing or worn-down teeth in adults. Eruption of teeth can be impeded by clenching and bruxing as a reaction to stress – even in young children!
Dentists have long known that jaw dysfunction can cause TMJ symptoms such as:
- Neck aches
- Back pain
- Stuffiness or ringing in the ears
- Pain behind the eyes
- Pain across the shoulders
Bruxism, or teeth grinding and clenching as a reaction to stress, makes the patient a prime candidate for a TMJ disorder. This added tension in the muscles of the head, neck, and shoulders can cause pain and spasms. Circulation in these muscles becomes compromised, allowing lactic acid and other metabolic wastes to build up and create trigger points, which can then refer pain to remote areas of the body.
While it is true that stress and muscle contraction cause much of the pain associated with TMJ syndrome, a major source of that stress and muscle tension is an imbalance of jaw and head posture. To achieve long lasting relief, one must correctly position both the jaw and head. An orthopedically designed oral appliance fabricated by a trained dentist can correct the jaw position, relieving pain and dysfunction of the TMJ and its associated muscles. Head and neck posture may be further helped with chiropractic, osteopathic, physical therapy, and trigger point therapy.
Where to find non-surgical TMJ treatment in Annandale, VA
We are fortunate at Evergreen Dental Wellness to have extensive training in the non-surgical treatment for TMJ pain relief. We enjoy close working relationships with other highly skilled professionals – when needed – offering a true multidisciplinary approach to resolve even the most chronic TMJ challenges.