TMJ: Pain, Disorders & Habits
Approximately 80% of all people have some kind of bite discrepancy, and about 70% of these people will have destructive oral habits or compression disorders such as clenching, bruxing, or grinding their teeth together because of their bite discrepancy. These oral habits are the main reason patients get headaches and injure the jaw joints, known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Oral compression habits are the second most common reason for having pain in the teeth or cold sensitivity.
Many compression disorder patients come to me in my Chicago, IL and Indianapolis, IN offices with numerous combinations of signs and symptoms. However, most of them require similar treatment. The goal of my TMJ disorder treatment is to get the maxillo-facial muscles to relax and have coordinated function. This is accomplished with the aid of my intra-oral TMJ appliance and the worst symptoms such as pain and bruxing habits stop. My patients’ stress habits of clenching and night grinding are basically turned off or reduced to minimal, non-degenerative levels. In addition, healing and regeneration of the TMJs can take place. Chewing becomes a comfort promoting and life energy (chi) enhancing experience.
The intra-oral appliance I use gives my patients a “perfect” bite – from the body’s point of view – and magically begins to turn off the stress systems’ desire to clench and grind within hours or days. It is comfortable and easy to wear allowing the muscles to relax naturally. Pain and tension in the mouth starts melting away and patients get more rest out of their sleep. The energy work I do along with the appliance reduces the energy supporting the negative habits and shortens the treatment time by months. Because the occlusion (bite) is always off from its ideal, with my way of relaxing the muscles we can easily discover what the patient’s ideal bite needs to be. Previously treated patients find this approach very gentle and easy on them compared to TMJ treatments offered by other dentists.
How Do You Know
If you have a bite problem and/or a compression disorder such as clenching or bruxing?
Tips for recognizing potential bite discrepancies:
- Hypersensitive teeth
- Headaches more than once a week
- Enlarged jaw muscles
- Keeping your teeth together for long periods during the day
- Waking up with pain or stiffness in your jaw
- Difficulty sleeping and waking up two or three times during the night
- Mild to moderate wear facets on your teeth (this usually takes a dentist to see)
- Clicking or popping sounds in your TMJ when you open or close
- Grating sounds, called crepitus, in your TMJ when you open or close
- Chronic neck tensions or low back pain
- Unable to hold a chiropractic adjustment or manipulation
- History of trauma to the head or jaw from a car accident or fall
- Vertigo or balance difficulties