Understanding Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, And Treatment For TMJ Disorder In Carlsbad, Ca
Do you have limited oral mobility that causes discomfort and keeps you from enjoying foods you love? Do you suffer chronic headaches or neck and back problems? Do you have popping or clicking in one or both of your TemporoMandibular joint(s)? You could have a TMJ disorder. Dr. Al A. Fallah helps patients in the Carlsbad, CA area find relief with accurate diagnosis and holistic treatment options.
TMJ SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES
While jaw pain and clicking and popping noises are common symptoms, they are not the only signs of temporomandibular joint disorder. These joints that hinge the lower jawbone (mandible) to the skull have a tremendous impact on comfort from head to toe, and on overall wellness.
Each TMJ relies on a delicate balance of boney structures, muscles, nerves, connective tissues, and a shock-absorbing disc to provide the full range of motion necessary to support many vital functions. Any imbalance places strain on the joint, triggering an inflammatory response. Inflammation is an immune system reaction to tissue damage. Damaged cells release chemicals that cause blood vessels to leak their content into soft tissues. The resulting swelling helps to isolate and cushion injured tissues as they heal. An inflammatory response, however, causes discomfort as swelling in jaw joints pinches trigeminal nerves.
The CN V (fifth cranial nerve or trigeminal nerve) allows the motor and sensory functions of the mouth necessary for biting, chewing, speech, facial expressions, and much more. It also controls sensations in the face. So, when this nerve cluster is impaired, you may experience aching pain in the face and ear noises or earache.
Trigeminal ganglion enters the brainstem at the back of the neck, with motor fibers extending into peripheral muscles. Thus, TMJ symptoms may include pain or stiffness in the neck, shoulder, and back. While there is still much to be learned about chronic headaches and migraines, the tension in the jaw and neck is a strong contributing factor.
Referred pain occurs when a problem in one part of the body triggers discomfort in another area. TMD alters the way you chew and hold your head. These postural changes throw the body out of balance like dominoes, as muscles and joints try to compensate. The adaptation may result in problems with your hips, knees, ankles, or feet.
What causes TMD? The short answer is anything that strains jaw joints. This could include:
- Bruxism excessive, chronic clenching and grinding of teeth.
- Crooked teeth.
- Damage to joint cartilage from rheumatoid or osteoarthritis.
- Diseases that degenerate connective tissue.
- Displacement of the articulating disc.
- Erosion of the articulating disc.
- Genetic predisposition to a sensitive stress or pain response.
- Hereditary malformation of facial bones.
- Impact to the face or jaw, such as from a fall, sports injury, or automobile accident.
- Lifestyle habits including gum chewing or phone cradling.
- Misaligned bite.
- Poor posture (this can be a cause or an effect).
- Poorly-fitted orthodontics or sleep apnea split.
- Stress and anxiety.
TMJ DISORDER TREATMENT: CARLSBAD, CA DENTIST TAKES A FRESH APPROACH
Dr. Fallah takes compassion and advanced technique to the next level with neuromuscular dentistry, use of T Scan, Cranio Mandibular balancing, improving the airway, and much more. The goal is to correct misalignment of the jaw for a balanced bite, improving the Cranio Cervical Balance, combined with gentle therapies for healing and pain management.
The doctor uses advanced technologies to first determine the ideal resting position of the jaw. This includes CBCT scanning for a three-dimensional look at TMJs and provides a three-dimensional view of the airway. Electromyography records muscle activity in the jaw during movement. Kinesiographic jaw tracking records mandibular movement in three dimensions. T Scan provides a precise measurement of bite imbalances. The doctor combines these hi-tech diagnostics with a grass-roots observation of your overall posture and oral range of motion.
Then, this information is transformed into a treatment approach utterly unique to you and your mouth. It may be as simple as adjusting the fit of dental restorations or involve injections of platelet-rich fibrin to regenerate cartilage. Orthodontics could be necessary to realign the bite. Non-invasive, drug-free biomodulation therapy relieves discomfort and promotes deep tissue healing. In many cases, wearing an oral appliance at night is beneficial. Dr. Fallah also works closely with your medical providers for integrated care.Back to TMJ Page