Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, believed that the human body is more than just a collection of parts. He advocated treating medical problems by looking at the health of the whole body rather than focusing on the individual body part where the problem manifests. Just as Hippocrates said, your treatment for temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) pain should not be limited to focusing on your jaw alone. Although neuromuscular dentistry can effectively manage your pain by realigning your jaw and fixing any malocclusion (bad bite), it takes the dedicated care of multiple professionals for a full recovery.
In many cases, a misalignment in your spine can cause muscle tension in your neck and jaw muscles and pulls your jaw out of alignment. Similarly, TMJ can also cause a misalignment of your spine over time. Tension from your jaw muscles creates a ripple effect through your neck and shoulder muscles that pulls your vertebrae out of place. This tension can also put pressure on nerves, causing head pain, as well as tingling in your hands and feet.
Ignoring your spine problems and trying to treat your jaw with neuromuscular dentistry alone will only momentarily alleviate your symptoms. Unfortunately, your spine will counteract treatment and continue to pull your jaw back out of alignment again and again. A chiropractor can help sort out your spine problems so that your jaw pain can improve.
Conditions that Require Surgery
Sometimes, cysts, tumors, or arthritis developing in your jaw joint cause TMJ. Surgery can help protect you from bone destruction in situations where these cysts or tumors grow. Some types of arthritis may also require surgery to remobilize your joints. Afterward, neuromuscular dentistry can help your jaw stay properly aligned during the healing process.
Psychology and Mental Health
You might not think of psychology and therapy as being related to your jaw pain, but these fields can also help some people with TMJ. High levels of stress and anxiety can cause tooth grinding and jaw clenching, which misaligns your jaw and causes this painful condition. If you struggle with anxiety and high levels of stress, you might consider looking into what the field of psychology can offer you to help you manage your anxieties.
The Benefits of Neuromuscular Dentistry
Chronic pain caused by TMJ disrupts your life in a big way. Symptoms of TMJ include jaw pain, stiffness in your neck and shoulder muscles, migraines, and tinnitus (ringing and buzzing in the ears). Not only can these symptoms distract you from productivity, but they can also limit your daily activities and food choices.
At Corpus Christi Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Don Lowrance treats every TMJ case on an individual bases. Dr. Lowrance will develop your treatment plan based on your symptoms and x-rays. A neuromuscular orthotic device (often called a bite splint) can help realign your jaw and discourage bruxism (tooth grinding) to alleviate your symptoms. If missing or poorly aligned teeth are part of the problem, Dr. Lowrance can use coronoplasty to make minor changes to your teeth, or perform a full mouth reconstruction if necessary to alleviate your symptoms
You deserve to live pain-free. For more information about what neuromuscular dentistry can do to help you manage your TMJ symptoms, please call (361) 851-8274 or contact us online for an appointment at Corpus Christi Center for Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Lowrance will be happy to meet with you and discuss your treatment options.