Headaches, neck aches, shoulder and ear pain may be associated with problems in the alignment of the teeth, jaw and/or the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ). Ideally, the proper alignment and function of the teeth allows the chewing muscles to work in a relaxed, coordinated fashion.
If the jaw must shift in order to align the teeth, the positioning and closing muscles become tired, overworked and cramped. These painful muscles not only hurt locally but also may refer pain to other areas of the head, neck, shoulders and back. Other symptoms may include popping, discomfort and damage in the jaw joints (temporo-mandibular disorder, or TMD), grinding of the teeth, chipped or worn teeth, limited opening, dizziness and ear pain. Excessive clenching and grinding of your teeth may also lead to muscle soreness and joint pain, and can be a very destructive habit.
One treatment possibility may include fabrication of an occlusal orthotic appliance, or a bite splint, which is a custom made appliance made to comfortably fit over your teeth and restore proper function. This appliance will help align the jaw joints and relax the muscles, resulting in relief of pain and symptoms. It will also help minimize destruction and wear to your teeth.
In conjunction with this therapy, conservative manicuring of selected teeth may be recommended so that your natural bite will now fit in harmony with the proper alignment of your jaw joint and muscles. Other options to address TMJ symptoms may include moving (orthodontics), restoring or even removing certain teeth in order to restore ideal position and function.
Helping you prevent the need for dental work is always our primary goal. When certain problems or conditions are present, they need to be addressed and restored back to a healthy, properly functioning state.
While in our office, you can expect to receive state-of-the-art care in a comfortable, relaxing environment. Our preservation page also lists the cleaning and periodontal services we offer, as well as preventative tips to maintain a healthy mouth.