November is official National TMJ Awareness Month. Why is there a national awareness month? One of the reasons is that TMJ pain is highly unrecognized and many patients suffer from this. Symptoms can be from mild headaches to severely debilitating issues such as migraines and the inability to open one’s mouth.
Many of our TMJ patients have seen neurologists, pain management specialists, ENTs, psychiatrists, and had MRIs and still have no explanation for their pain. Many are often taking prescription medications in an attempt to eliminate their pain only to feel groggy and no relief. Others have tried Botox injections for TMJ. Botox is simply a band-aid and does not address the underlying cause of the pain.
Very few understand how TMJ issues and damaged TMJ joints can cause the following health issues:
- Migraines or Headaches
- Neck pain
- Tics or Tourette’s
- Back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Clicking or popping of the joints
- Numbness or Tingling
- Sleep apnea or airway issues
- Facial asymmetry
- Bad bites or misaligned bites
- Overbites, underbites, and crossbites
- Postural problems
- Locking jaw
- Worn teeth
As you can see, there are a large number of different problems that TMJ can and does cause. There are blood vessels and nerves in and around the jaw joint in which compression of these causes numerous problems and pain. If the disc slips off this joint, you will hear noise and sometimes have limited ability to open your mouth. Needless to say, this affects chewing, speech, and daily life.
There are several ways to treat TMJ properly and each case is somewhat different. Before any treatment is initiated a thorough exam should be completed which should include:
- CBCT full view 3D scan
- Posture exam
- Neck muscles exam
- Facial muscle exam
- Airway assessment
- Occlusal or bite assessment
- Tongue posture and swallow
- Tongue tie
“It is very important to recognize the teeth are only one component TMJ issues. It is critical to evaluate the entire craniofacial system.” This includes tongue posture and function. Myofunctional therapy is also indicated to correct these aberrant tongue issues which do affect the jaw development and TMJ function.
Hopefully, TMJ Awareness Month will help patients find appropriate care and relief for this dysfunction that is causing poor quality of life due to pain. Almost all cases can be treated non-surgically. We are also able to help patients with non-surgical overbite and underbite correction.
If you have any questions regarding Houston TMJ Treatment or Houston TMJ Pain Relief, please feel free to contact our office, Ronald W. Konig DDS, FAGD, LVIF, FIAPA, 713-668-2289.