Do you have TMJ and Your Problems Aren't Getting Better?
There is a very large gap in the dental and medical communities in the understanding of what causes temporomandibular joint disorder, also referred to as TMJ or TMD. Many people use these abbreviations interchangeably however, TMJ is the joint which is misaligned and TMD is the abbreviation for the actual disorder. If you are having symptoms and want to get to the CORE of the problem for a long lasting solution, we may have your answer.
Check out our Drugless Life Podcast on TMD:
Signs and Symptoms of TMD:
- Jaw Pain
- Clicking or Popping of the Jaw
- Creaking or Cracking Noise When Chewing
- Teeth Grinding or Clamping
- Enamel Problems on the Teeth
- Difficulty Opening or Closing Mouth
- Neck Pain
- Ringing in Ears
Home Testing Options for TMD:
Test 1 - The Finger Test: You should be able to easily put your 2nd through 4th fingers into your mouth. If you can't open your mouth that wide, there is typically some type of structural misalignment.
Test 2- The Tracking Test: Typically people with TMD will notice tracking problems with their jaw. If you look at your jaw in a mirror and watch it open, it should close straight down. Your teeth should stay in line from the time your mouth is completely open to the time it is closed. If you are noticing it closing in an "S" pattern, it is typically a muscular type problem. If you are noticing it closing in a "C" pattern, it is typically a bilateral disc that is getting stuck.
TMD: Finding the Root Cause of the Problem
Oftentimes, our patients will seek treatment from a medical doctor or dental office prior to seeing us. The medical doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants or ice guards. These only help to cover up the pain for a short period of time. Dental offices will prescribe expensive mouth guards that will help to prevent grinding of the teeth, a side effect of TMD. None of these options actually get to the FUNCTIONAL problem of WHY the TMD is occurring.
What is ACTUALLY Going on?
There are muscles and connective tissues between the neck and jaw that can get damaged for many different reasons. A dental procedure that requires one to keep their mouth open for long periods of time can damage those tissues. Stress, some type of physical trauma left unnoticed, whiplash, laying in bed wrong...all of these things can cause a misalignment of the spine and affect those connective tissues between the neck and the jaw.
We noted earlier in this article some testing you can do at home to determine whether you may have a muscular or disc problem that needs to be addressed. Again, soft tissue damage in the area between the neck and jaw is also quite common. Sometimes these problems don't show up as neck pain so we don't think to go to a chiropractor.
What We Do In Our Office:
We will be testing for range of motion problems in the neck and upper spine to determine whether there is a misalignment. We also test for muscles weakness. We may also perform x-rays depending upon what we find in the initial testing. Treatment typically consists of spinal adjustments and therapeutic modalities which help reduce pain, inflammation and muscle tension. This could include laser therapy. Many people notice some relief right away after treatment.
TMD and Whiplash
Patients who suffer from whiplash will also typically suffer from some type of TMD problem. The forces involved in whiplash injuries also affect the soft tissues in the jaw area. In these cases, dizziness and headaches also occur.
Boxing and mixed martial arts training where people get hit in the face will oftentimes notice TMJ injuries as well. We conduct multiple screening procedures to determine exactly which soft tissues and ligaments are out of alignment so we make sure we are addressing all of the problems.
Dentists and TMD
Our goal is to be a resource in the Red River Valley area for not only patients who struggle with TMD but also for medical and dental professionals. If you happen to be someone who is treating a patient for TMD and they are not improving, we would be happy to help! We know that a dentist can treat and heal the tooth and gum problems associated with TMD but struggle to heal the underlying issue. That's where we can be a tool in their toolbox to help their patients get back to baseline.
Migraines and TMD
It's interesting to note that one of the symptoms of TMD is migraine headaches. There can be some vascular type issues if the muscles get too tight or there is some restriction. These things may cause migraines which can be alleviated with chiropractic care. This muscular problem can also create ocular dysfunction.
We are not just focused on the spine being the problem. We may find out there's actually a temporal mandibular joint dysfunction. There's possibly myofascial trigger points that need to be dealt with as well. We're trying to assess the root cause of the problems as thoroughly as possible.
Want to know more about the treatment methods and therapies offered by All Seasons Full Body Chiropractic Center? (Click Here)
Are you a dentist or medical provider? We would love to provide an educational seminar or lunch and learn.
Call us to learn more! (701) 356-0016
Dr. Paul Bekkum leads the team of health care professionals at All Seasons Full Body Chiropractic Center. His life's mission is to help people live active and healthy lives. Dr. Bekkum believes that pain doesn't have to be a life-long sentence. By focusing on a person's whole body, Dr. Bekkum can help detect, correct, and prevent health problems. Bekkum was born and raised in River Falls, WI, and attended University of Wisconsin - River Falls, then graduated from Northwestern College of Chiropractic in 1992.In addition to being a Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Paul Bekkum is a Certified Extremity Practitioner and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology. Dr. Bekkum is a team chiropractor for the NDSU Rodeo team.