Do you suffer from jaw pain? If you do, you’re not alone. Millions of people experience these symptoms because of a condition called TMJ disorder, or TMD for short – temporomandibular disorder.
Jaw pain is often caused by jaw misalignment. This causes jaw pain because of the strain that’s placed upon the muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments of the head. When all of these tissues are in proper alignment, the jaw functions at full capacity and without pain.
The strain, though, can lead to headaches, migraines, and tooth pain. It can even lead to cracked or broken teeth.
What causes misalignment and TMJ disorder? There are a number of causes, including:
Anatomical dysfunction of the jaws, including overbite, underbite, and crossbite occur due to improper jaw development. Jaw development is altered when there is an airway problem and/or improper tongue function in early life.
The tongue is a big powerful muscle that is supposed to sit on the roof of the mouth at rest, and then just push up during swallowing. It helps develop the upper jaw to a nice wide and forward position, which allows our lower jaw to develop and function in an ideal position.
However, things like thumb-sucking, bottle feeding, tongue ties, and allergies that cause airway congestion and obstruction all alter the function of our tongue in early life. The tongue no longer sits in the proper position and the muscles of the face and mouth have more dominance, causing our upper and lower jaws to develop more narrowly and more retruded. This predisposes us to dental crowding, TMJ and postural pain or problems, and airway issues like snoring and sleep apnea.
It’s important to note that a TMJ disorder will eventually lead to problems with your overall health. In addition to all of the dental problems TMD patients face, they can also end up with:
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Is the idea that the misalignment of your jaw can lead to poor posture a new one for you? You’re not alone. Many people don’t realize just how impactful TMJ disorder and jaw pain can be on the rest of the body.
It’s amazing just how intricately connected the entire body really is, which is why a dentist West Kelowna, Dr. Shauna Palmer will encourage you to get treatment for TMD. It’s not just about fixing the teeth – it’s about fixing the body. And science backs this up.
Researchers at the University of Barcelona, Spain and the University of Innsbruck, Austria, found a correlation between dental malocclusion and posture in separate 2016 studies.
The data from these studies showed that when one part of the body is out of alignment, others will be as well. So, patients with TMJ disorder are more likely to experience muscle fatigue, loss of balance, and pain throughout their body.
How does a loss of balance fit into this scenario? It’s due to the vestibular nerves related to balance and control, as well as the trigeminal nerve, which is the main nerve involved in mastication.
The muscles of the neck also play a role, and when there is strain and tightness, which is common in TMD patients, these nerves are activated. The result is jaw pain, as well as pain throughout the head, neck, and shoulders, as well as loss of balance and stability.
Thankfully, Dr. Shauna Palmer, can help. Through the implementation of certain dental procedures that put the jaw in a healthy, neutral position, you will experience:
Though jaw issues might not seem significant at first, research is continuing to show how closely linked the jaw is with the rest of the body. Therefore, when you get treatment from a West Kelowna TMJ dentist, you can rest assured that you’ll be taking steps to improve your overall health, not just your dental health.
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Isn’t it amazing to know that by tackling the cause of your jaw pain you can address multiple health issues?
This is why it’s so important to have any jaw, head, or facial pain treated as soon as possible. Fortunately, your West Kelowna dentist can help.
With a series of physiologic/neuromuscular based tests, including sonography, electromyography, jaw tracking, 3-D imaging, a sleep study to see what the airway and jaw are doing at night, and a comprehensive exam, Dr. Shauna Palmer can come up with a definitive diagnosis. Once that has been done, you’ll receive a treatment plan that can include physiologically based orthotic therapy, physiologic based orthodontics, bite adjustments, physiologically based restorations, or a combination of treatments.
With some time, you’ll notice you have less pain and tension throughout your entire body. When everything is in proper alignment, you’ll have better posture, less pain, and more energy, all of which will allow you to live a full, happy, and healthy life.
Do you experience jaw pain? It might be a TMJ disorder. Contact Dr. Shauna Palmer at Health & Beauty dentistry to find out about possible TMJ jaw pain treatment options.