If you suffer from frequent headaches, neck pain or jaw pain, you might want to visit a dentist before you reach for any painkillers.
Experts say that people with misaligned bites often have jaw and neck muscles that are overworked. Those overtired muscles can lead to a number of ailments–including headaches, neck and jaw pain-that people don’t associate with dental problems. LVI Global, the leading postgraduate training facility for dentists, specifically deals with such issues. LVI Global trains dentists to use a number of techniques that help improve jaw position by focusing on what’s known as the “neuromuscular bite.” Here’s a closer look at how an LVI Global-trained neuromuscular dentist might treat the pain caused by what is known as TMD:
A Problem Ailment
TMD, short for temporomandibular (jaw joint) disorder, affects more than 15 percent of American adults. It is particularly prevalent among women. Common signs and symptoms include headaches, even migraines, pain in the head and neck, painful clicking or popping of the jaw joint, swallowing problems, excessive snoring or sleep apnea and limited mouth opening, among other things.
When checking for TMD, a neuromuscular dentist takes a patient’s history and does a physical exam of the teeth, posture, head and neck. The dentist may also conduct a series of tests using noninvasive instruments. If it is determined that the patient’s bite is the likely cause of the pain, the neuromuscular dentist will identify a new jaw position that leaves the patient’s jaw muscles in a relaxed state.
There are a number of treatment options, but the process often starts with a patient wearing for a short period of time what’s known as an orthotic. An orthotic is a custom-made, plastic appliance that can be worn over the teeth. It does not permanently alter a patient’s bite.
If, after wearing the appliance, a patient’s TMD symptoms go away, it can be safely assumed they were caused by poor jaw alignment. If that’s the case, patients have several options. They include dental treatment to permanently alter the bite to the new position, orthodontics or beautiful porcelain restorations. Not only is your pain eliminated but you may have a stunning new smile.