While it might seem a bit silly to feel bitten by a headache – for many people constant headaches, facial muscle pain and even neck aches are not funny. For some, a bad bite can lead to a migraine or stress headache.
A variety of pain-related conditions of the head and neck may be caused by a specific joint in your jaw, the TemporoMandibular Joint. Let’s call it the Jaw Joint.
Maybe your jaw ‘clicks’ when you open it. Maybe you have frequent headaches or migraines or even muscle pain near your jaw. Maybe your jaw joint aches. Sometimes ringing in the ear (tinnitus) is caused by the Jaw Joint.
Maybe your jaw or mouth aches when you wake in the morning or when you’re under stress. Sometimes people experience balance problems (vertigo) or even sore shoulders, and numbness or tingling in the finger tips – which can all be caused by an unaligned jaw joint.
Maybe your teeth are showing signs of wearing or are loosening because of grinding in your sleep. Maybe when you bite, your teeth don’t line up or you have trouble chewing food properly because it hurts your jaw.
That’s a lot of maybes but there is definitely an answer.
Your bite is the key to a healthy functioning head and neck and a significant element of your overall physical health. By treating the jaw joint and relieving the aches and pain, you’ll feel rejuvenated. Since almost 90 per cent of all facial and head jaw joint pain is related to an improper bite, let’s talk for a minute about managing your bite.
Did you know that if you are unable to breathe through your nose and breathe mostly through your mouth, your tongue—which is a powerful muscle—will place considerable force on your teeth and have a substantial effect on your bite?
As a result, over time, narrowing arches or a jaw that is set too far back may create an imbalanced jaw position. The body doesn’t like imbalance so to compensate, your body moves your head forward.
Repositioning your head may help your jaw muscles work less, but it places great strain on your neck. Think about it in terms of an injured toe. When you walk, you protect that toe and in doing so, your posture changes and pain will be felt elsewhere, like your heel or your knee.
The same thing can happen with your jaw. That’s why Kootenay Smile Studio’s approach is to consider all structures that shape your bite: your teeth, your muscles and your jaw joints. Using the techniques of a science called Neuromuscular Dentistry, we place the jaw in its ideal position thus relieving the symptoms of Jaw Joint pain.
Your jaw muscles are as balanced and relaxed as possible and the Jaw Joint pain disappears.
How do I know if my jaw joint or my bite is causing my pain?
First, we’ll evaluate your jaw position and look at how you bite and clench your jaw. We’ll use a diagnostic computer software program to record your jaw opening through its full range of motion, as well as measure the activity of key jaw muscles.
From there, we’ll attach a specialized T.E.N.S. Unit, which will relax your face and jaw muscles by delivering gentle pulses to the facial muscles. The gentle pulsation and massage of the muscles increases blood flow, helps ease any discomfort and relaxes the muscles in your face and jaw. Once your jaw is relaxed we can determine your most natural bite position.
Based on this process, we create an orthotic, a small device that fits inside your mouth and places your jaw in its proper neuromuscular position, to help the jaw achieve the ideal resting position. Only once your symptoms are relieved and your bite stabilized, will we permanently adjust your bite to the correct position.
Several options are available to establish your new permanent bite and we’ll work with you to select the one that’s best for you. Visit this link for more information about Neuromuscular Dentistry, TMJ and TMD.
We’d be pleased to talk to you about all the scientific terms like TemporoMandibular joint (TMJ) and TemporoMandibular dysfunction (TMD) and show you the device, called Transcutaneous Electro Neural Stimulation (TENS) which will help your facial muscles relax.
And be sure to visit our Smile Makeover Gallery to see just some of our guests’ beautiful smiles. When will we see YOUR smile?
Go ahead. Take the first step.
Visit our Smile Consultation page and tell us what you feel would help you smile more!