Millions of Americans suffer from chronic headaches, as well as face and neck pain. They may also experience locking or clicking of the jaw; buzzing, ringing and pain around the ears and loss of hearing.
Many go from doctor to doctor, receiving a variety of diagnoses such as migraine, tension headache, neuritis, neuralgia, or stress. When standard treatment fails, these patients are considered hypochondriacs and are advised to seek psychiatric care.
These often unexplained and untreated symptoms are collectively called Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD). You sometimes hear this referred to as “TMJ,” although strictly speaking, TMJ refers to the joints that are affected – the temporomandibular joints, which make the hinge on which your mouth opens and closes.
Having had years of training while acquiring the latest in diagnostic technologies, our offices are prepared to treat these irritating symptoms. Many patients experience an almost miraculous relief after having suffered for years!
To properly diagnose TMD, we perform a complete exam of the head and neck. We also get complete x-rays of the TMJ and surrounding structures, as well as computer evaluation of jaw movements, jaw noises and muscle tension of the head and neck.
Initial treatment is conservative and completely reversible in accordance with the protocols set out by the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain. Most often, it involves wearing of a removable appliance which places the jaw joint in a more ideal, relaxed position. Once maximum benefits have been obtained from the appliance, the patient is slowly weaned from it to see if the body readapts to the old position.
Suffice it to say, due to the chronic and complex nature of this condition, a team medical approach is necessary. Most of the time, multiple health care providers are involved to get our patients the very best results.