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Dealing With Headaches

What is TMJ/TMD?

"Temporo" meaning head and "mandible" meaning the lower jaw, TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joints which connect the head and jaw together. Since your teeth are connected to your lower jaw by these ball-and-socket type joints, it makes sense that dentists should be well educated in these areas. Problems which occur within these regions are known as Temporomandibular Disorders, or TMD.

TMD can be treated non-invasively and without medication with Neuromuscular Dentistry, or NMD. Neuromuscular Dentistry (neuro=nerves and muscular=muscles) deals with the nerves and muscles that are responsible for moving your lower jaw and the joints.

Many dentists however do not practice this concept which is based on statistically objective data. Instead they attempt to treat the condition arbitrarily. Developed over 30 years ago, NMD practices the logical view that the teeth, mandible, tmj's, head and neck are all interrelated and must all work together. If there is a problem in one of these areas, there may easily be a problem in another. However, traditional dentistry usually only considers one tooth at a time, or treats you on an acute basis with one problem at a time. Traditional dentistry also assumes that your present bite (how and where your lower and upper teeth meet upon closing) is best for you. As such, any changes made to your mouth, such as fillings or crowns, are made to accommodate this bite --whether it is right or wrong. When it is wrong, the surrounding muscles must overcompensate for the bad bite each time you chew, swallow and yawn - and that's over 1,000 times a day! As a result, the muscles go into spasm and many painful symptoms can arise such as head or neck aches, grinding or ringing in the ears. NMD considers how your teeth, muscles and joints interact and helps to ensure that they are working in harmony. So if your bite isn't right, the muscles become tight and the pain will ignite.

We've only briefly touched upon how your dental health can often be responsible for a myriad of painful problems. As always, we understand the importance of seeing your general physician first to rule out any serious conditions for your concerns. However, we encourage you to consider Neuromuscular Dentistry as a logical, non-invasive, non-medicating alternative. We hope that as you read on you will gain a better understanding of how your teeth, jaw, joints and muscles are related and how addressing the causes and not just the symptoms could improve your overall quality of life.

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