Chronic headaches are a living nightmare for at least one out of every 10 North Americans. They never imagine that their headaches may be caused by TMD, (temporomandibular disorder) and that their pain is the result of a bad bite. Very few people have an absolutely perfect bite. Yet many of us have a tolerance for some degree of abnormality and can function quite well in spite of it. The muscles of the temple area and the forehead play an important role in the posturing and closing of the jaw. If your bite is not right, it can lead to abnormal tension and/or imbalance and can cause a constant strain on your head, jaws, face, neck and spine. Basically, your jaw posturing muscles may be overworked in attempting to maintain your present “programmed” position, even when you think they are relaxed. If the bite remains uncorrected , the muscles may remain tense for long periods of time, do not get a chance to rest and soon suffer from poor circulation, a lack of needed oxygen and the accumulation of waste products of metabolism. The result can be pain (headache), and if let go long enough, biochemical changes to the muscle tissues. This condition can also lead to jaw joint problems and physical damage to the joint itself.
What are some of the Symptoms?
- HEAD & NECK TREATMENTS
- JAW PAIN OR SORENESS, MORE NOTICEABLE IN THE MORNING OR AFTERNOON
- JAW PAIN WHILE CHEWING, BITING, OR YAWNING
- EARACHE WITHOUT AN INFECTION, SOMETIMES SPREADING INTO THE FACE
- A CLICKING AND GRINDING NOISE WHILE OPENING AND CLOSING YOUR MOUTH
- SENSITIVE TEETH WITHOUT ANY SIGNS OF DENTAL PROBLEMS
- DIFFICULTY OPENING AND CLOSING YOUR MOUTH
- A STIFF JAW WHEN EATING, TALKING, OR YAWNING
- ACHING ON THE SIDE OF THE HEAD AND NECK PAIN “LOCKING” OF JAW IN AN OPEN OR CLOSED POSITION
A condition called bruxism, may develop from stress or as a part of this disorder. This can tire muscles and create painful spasms, causing even more pain. Because the muscles controlling the jaw are subconsciously “programmed” by the brain, most individuals have difficulty consciously reaching a truly relaxed state and are unaware of cleching or grinding. Many people are completely unaware that they clench and grind when they are asleep.
Proper diagnosis is critical to ensure you receive treatment for your particular condition. Dr. Saruna recommends an appropriate treatment plan after conducting a thorough health history, clinical exam, taking appropriate X-rays, and perhaps confirming the condition through other diagnostic tests. Careful examination of the muscles of the head and neck help Dr. Saruna to determine a proper resting jaw position that positively affects the muscles of the face, neck, head, teeth, and joints.
After addressing the primary muscle pain, Dr. Saruna will usually create an orthotic or mouth splint to help realign your jaw to a physiologic position that maintains relaxed muscles and healthy joints and posture. This device fits comfortably over your teeth, realigning your bite. Ideally the orthotic is both comfortable and unobtrusive, creating jaw corrections that allow speaking, eating and swallowing in a more relaxed manner for the patients. Many patients become so accustomed to their orthotics that they miss having them out of their mouths even momentarily.