TMJ & Headache Treatment in Stratford
Do you suffer from headaches or jaw pain?
If you experience recurring headaches or jaw pain, it may be due to TMJ disorder. TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jaw to the skull. When this joint is misaligned or unbalanced, it can result in problems with the bite. The muscles will attempt to correct this misalignment, placing more stress on them than normal. TMJ disorder can be the result, and you may feel the symptoms in the form of headaches or jaw pain.
Dr. Hoos has extensive experience successfully helping patients with TMJ disorder and relieving their pain as well as correcting the condition.
Causes of TMJ
TMJ disorder can be caused by different conditions. Very commonly it can result from heavy clenching or grinding of the teeth. Sometimes an injury to the jaw can result in TMJ disorder, or a bite problem (how the teeth come together) can be the source.
If you clench your teeth while sleeping or during the day, it causes some of the strongest muscles in your body to significantly tense up. The amount of this muscle tension can be 6 to 20 times more intense than in people who do not clench, resulting in headaches and pain in the neck muscles, jaw joint and teeth.
Our doctors perform comprehensive diagnostics testing for TMJ disorder. This can include panoramic X-rays, which show the jaw joints. Other testing can include manually feeling the TMJ joint while having you open and close your mouth as well as pressing on the muscles of your face, ears, shoulders, and arms. They will also do an oral exam to view your teeth and bite. Measurements can be taken of how wide you can open your mouth and noting any pain or noises while you do so.
Our doctors also use the high-tech T-Scan system when testing for TMJ problems. This is a computerized system for analyzing the bite. It is a hand-held device that gives an accurate measurement of how the teeth come together when biting down. The patient bites the sensor, and information concerning force and timing is then sent to a computer. A 3D analysis is displayed within minutes. If an unbalanced bite is causing or contributing to TMJ disorder, we will be able to see it, and thereby treat it correctly.
Treating TMJ with the NTI device
When intense clenching is the reason for TMJ problems, symptoms such as morning headaches, stiff necks, sore and sensitive teeth, and an aching jaw can occur. This continued stress is not only painful, but it can even cause damage to joints, teeth, and the muscles surrounding the TMJ. When this is the cause, our doctors can help with the NTI™ device.
How the NTI™ device works
The NTI™ device is an oral appliance made of clear plastic that fits over your front teeth and is worn while sleeping. It makes it impossible for you to clench your teeth, because the device prevents the back teeth from touching. As a result, you can experience relief from the pain in your teeth, jaw, head and shoulders because those muscles that were being so stressed from clenching are now able to relax.
When will I experience relief?
Every patient is different. How fast this occurs depends on the patient. The muscles involved with the clenching may have developed the clenching pattern over a long time, and having them unlearn this pattern can take time. Some experience relief within hours, others a few weeks or a month.
What other benefits can I expect?
If you have had to take medications to help alleviate the pain you experience due to clenching your teeth, you may be able to stop taking them. And because the pain is greatly reduced or now gone, you may find that you are more alert and productive during the day since you are no longer fighting pain.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
- Clenching or grinding teeth
- Pain in the jaw
- Painful tension headaches
- Ringing in the ears
- Pain in the neck, back and shoulders
- Jaw that locks up
- Popping or clicking sounds when moving the jaw
To make an appointment, call 203.378.9500 or click here to request an appointment online.