TMJ / TMD Relief
Denver and Lakewood, Colorado
TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint although it is also used to refer to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. TMD is another acronym for that disorder. Many Americans have TMD without knowing it. It is a misaligned jaw joint and has many painful symptoms which do not appear at first glance to be related to dentistry.
You can feel the jaw joint by placing a finger in front of an ear and opening your mouth. The lower jaw has several muscles connected to it and one is the temporalis muscle, situated at each side of the head over the temple and above the ear. Another is called the masseter, which is under your ears near the corner of the lower jaw. If you have a habit of clenching your teeth, the temporalis and the masseter are the muscles doing it.
They are strong muscles and can push the lower jaw intensely against the upper jaw. This pushes the teeth together with unnecessary pressure and causes damage to the cartilage in the jaw joint. If you also tend to grind your teeth, further damage occurs.
Chronic teeth clenching causes chronic headaches and they can be severe. You may wake with a headache if you unconsciously clench or grind your teeth during sleep. These headaches are often thought to be migraines and a person will consult their physician for help. Painkillers certainly do help but only temporarily because they address the symptom instead of the cause.
Other TMJ Symptoms
There are several large nerves running and branching through the face, head and neck areas. When chronic jaw muscle tension causes inflammation in these areas, parts of these nerves are compressed and register pain. Other parts of the same nerve may also be affected, causing a wide assortment of symptoms:
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Jaw or other facial pain
- Ringing in the ears
- Hearing loss
- Grating or popping sounds in the jaw when it moves
- Facial swelling
- Limited jaw movement, jaw locking, or asymmetrical jaw movement
- Premature wear and tear on the teeth
- Difficulty with swallowing
The headaches may also cause extra symptoms such as dizziness or nausea.
An Effective Treatment – NTI
At Dr. Greenhalgh’s office we offer a proven and easy treatment for teeth clenching. It is a small device which fits over a few front teeth, either upper or lower. It is called the NTI-tss Plus™ and it has FDA approval for TMD treatment.
It works by preventing the upper and lower teeth from coming together. Where other and larger bite guards are less effective because they provide a good clenching surface, the NTI Plus avoids that pitfall and prevents you from clenching at all.
Sometimes teeth can crack from the constant clenching pressure of TMD, and the NTI Plus also protects your teeth from such damage. It is made of an unbreakable clear thermoplastic material. It will not become stained or absorb any odors, as it is non-porous.
Dr. Greenhalgh places your comfort and health at the top of his priority list. If you are wondering whether you might have any TMJ symptoms, a discussion with him and an examination of your jaw joints and bite would give you a lot more information. Before any pain relief can become permanent, the cause of the pain must be accurately diagnosed.
To learn more about the NTI Plus and about any chronic symptoms which you would like to deal with, please contact our neuromuscular dentistry office in Lakewood, Colorado. We will be happy to set up a TMJ / TMD consultation for you with Dr. Greenhalgh. Serving all surrounding Denver areas.