If you’re suffering from headaches, earaches or neck pain that haven’t responded to traditional treatment, the cause may be a dysfunctional jaw joint.
Temporomandibular disorder (TMD), also referred to as TMJ, is a condition that affects the jaw joint and related muscles. It’s estimated that 75% of the American population suffers some TMD symptoms, which also include shoulder pain, teeth grinding or clenching, difficulty chewing or swallowing, jaw popping, clicking or locking, and dizziness or vertigo.
The temporomandibular joint is located near the ear canal, where the maxilla and mandible (upper and lower jaws) meet. The condyle and disc are in between the two. When the jaw opens and closes, the condyle shifts as it’s pulled in one direction or the other by the connected muscle tissue.
When the condyle and disc slide out of position and are unable to slide back and forth correctly, the mandible and maxilla begin to rub against each other and the muscle that moves the condyle may become in amed. A click or pop then results when the mouth is opened, and the jaw may shift to one side or the other. Because of the complex set of nerves in the head, pain in one branch — the teeth or jaw — can lead to pain throughout the head and neck.
Treatment for TMD involves stabilizing the jaw joint and muscles through the use of an oral orthotic, a custom- fitted mouth guard that corrects the jaw position, thereby relieving pain symptoms. Once the correct jaw position is determined, permanent rehabilitation of the bite through dental reconstruction, orthodontia or other methods ensures the joint and muscles remain in the ideal position for long-term relief.
Call 440-925-5400 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Costaras to learn more.