What would a Chiropractor and a Dentist have in common in patient care? There is one condition that both practitioners treat but using different methods, and that condition is Temporo-Mandibular Joint disease or TMJ. How do you know if you have a TMJ problem? The jaw will be painful to touch or to chew on that side and there may be clicking sounds when you open or close the mouth.
TMJ is known to cause reflex problems in the upper cervical spine, so untreated TMJ problems can be responsible for referred headaches and for stressing the upper spinal segments, which in turn can cause other various types of headaches. It has not been noted that neck conditions cause TMJ though. Mostly chewing too much on one side, missing teeth affecting the “bite” or fitting of the teeth, and of course trauma, blunt trauma to the face or jaw, of intentional or accidental occurrence can be the cause of TMJ.
Dentists will often be asked by people with TMJ complaints if they can help treat the problem. Truth is that when there is an asymmetrical bite due to missing teeth this may in fact be the main reason for the physical stresses to the TMJ and the resulting jaw pain. The best long-term solution is to repair the irregular bite with dental bridgework.
From a mild joint mobilization and muscle balancing techniques. If this is the case then we normally find that a few sessions can make a big difference. This care just becomes part of a regular chiropractic session where the TMJ treatment is included in the spinal care provided under regular chiropractic patient care. When the response is not so quick, due to more complex or intrinsic joint issues, and this is often the sign that a referral to a Dental TMJ specialist is indicated.
A simple but sweet message. Don’t suffer unnecessarily when you experience the symptoms of pain or clicking in the jaw. Have the chiropractor check it first; if it’s simple this is all that will be needed. If the condition is more complex, this will be determined and the proper Dental referral can be made, since not all Dentists are TMJ specialists.
Yours in Health,