Does your jaw make odd sounds? Does it click or pop when you open your mouth? Is your jaw painful or has it ever locked open or closed? Does it ache when you eat chewy foods? Do you suffer from migraines, constant headaches, a stiff or sore neck, or an aching back? Do you have mysterious facial pain? Do you clench or grind your teeth at night? If you answered yes to any of these questions, your problem could be caused something commonly referred to as TMJ disorder.
TMJ stands for your temporomandibular joint, your jaw joint. A TMJ disorder is a problem with your jaw joint. Other people prefer the acronym TMD, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or Dysfunction.
Clicks, pops and pain are not normal
Aches and odd sounds are signals from your body that something is out of whack. Telltale TMJ symptoms include stiffness, locking, clicking, popping, or grating noises coming from your TMJ jaw joint.
Left untreated, your TMJ disorder can lead to a host of painful problems such as:
- TMJ migraines or unrelenting headaches.
- Pain in your jaw joint.
- Pain that radiates down your neck and into your arms, shoulders or back
- Altered hearing (fullness in the ears, ringing in the ears/tinnitus)
- Numbness and tingling as far away as your fingers
- Poor body posture
TMJ disorder can be caused by:
- Teeth grinding. Teeth grinding usually happens while you are asleep and can be caused by a misaligned jaw or stress.
- A dislocated disc between the ball and socket of your jaw joint.
- Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in your jaw joint.
- Trauma to the jaw sustained by an event like a car crash or a nasty fall.
- Stress, which can cause your face and jaw muscles to tighten and your jaw to clench.
Treat the cause not the symptoms
Using neuromuscular dentistry, Dr. Nancy Nehawandian of Top Down Dental in San Jose/Los Gatos will treat your TMJ disorder differently than a traditional dentist will.
Traditional dentistry concerns itself with the hard tissues of your face and mouth, your bones, joints and teeth. Dr. Nancy Nehawandian digs deeper. Looking beyond your hard tissues, and even further than the obvious issues you may be experiencing in your soft tissues, the muscles and nerves in your jaw face, head and neck, Dr. Nancy Nehawandian gets to the very root of your TMJ disorder by measuring the health of your jaw joint posture, and your body’s overall muscular function and range of motion.
The parts of our bodies are designed to work in unison and there’s a dynamic relationship between your bite, your jaw posture, and the healthy function of the rest of the muscles in your body. If your jaw isn’t working properly, it stresses distant muscles and nerves in your neck, shoulders, back and arms as it forces them to pick up the slack. Dr. Nancy Nehawandian looks at the whole picture to determine the best treatment for your TMJ disorder.
Put your jaw back in its place
You can cram a round peg into a square hole if you really have to, but, if you take the time and do a bit of prep work to make sure the size and shape of your peg and hole match first, you’ll get a much more solid, long-lasting fit. That’s exactly what Dr. Nancy Nehawandian does when she treats your TMJ disorder. Instead of just treating your teeth and assuming your jaw joint and jaw muscles will accommodate your misaligned bite, Dr. Nancy Nehawandian works to achieve a healthy bite by finding the optimal position, function and resting posture of your jaw of your jaw joint, and its muscles.
How does she do that? This is where the prep work comes in. First, she will use reversible treatments like TENS massage and a bite splint to help find the optimal jaw position. Once we’re confident we know the right position, she uses restorative procedures such as crowns and bridges, and orthodontics only after she’s determined the correct posture for your jaw joint. Basically, instead of treating your teeth and forcing your jaw to accommodate them, as traditional dentistry does, she restores your teeth in a way that allows your jaw to sit at its healthiest position, bringing relief to the supporting muscles and nerves of your jaw, face, head and neck.
Once your jaw is back in its happy place, your TMJ symptoms will disappear. The pain from TMJ and migraines, shoulder pain, aching neck, sore back and poor posture will soon be a thing of the past.
Choose high tech know how
To eliminate your TMJ symptoms and TMJ pain, Dr. Nehawandian uses state-of-the-art electronic diagnostic instruments such as:
- Computerized jaw tracking is used to record how your jaw moves, rests and bites.
- Electromyography is used to monitor your muscles while they are working.
- Sonography helps to detect jaw abnormalities by record the sounds your jaw joint makes. Myo- monitor (low frequency TENS) is used to relax hyperactive head and neck muscles.
- Tomography, special x-rays of your jaw joints, evaluate its condition and position.
TMJ treatment from Top Down Dental in San Jose/Los Gatos will bring harmony back to your jaw, teeth, facial muscles, and posture.
Dr. Nancy Nehawandian and her team at Top Down Dental in San Jose/Los Gatos are trained and experienced in measuring and analyzing the balance between your muscles, joints, and bite (the fit of your teeth). Once analysed, you’ll be prescribed a treatment to resolve your TMJ symptoms and pain. Dr. Nancy Nehawandian is committed to a caring commitment to excellence. She’ll keep you up to speed throughout the entire process and your choices for resolving your TMJ disorder.
TMD can become a serious condition with far reaching ramifications. If you think you may be suffering from TMD, don’t delay. The sooner you seek treatment at Top Down Dental in San Jose/Los Gatos, the sooner you’ll begin to heal. Call us at 408-354-5600, or e-mail us to find relief.