Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) is a condition in which your bite becomes misaligned, causing many serious and often painful health problems. You will see the acronyms TMJ and TMD often used interchangeably, but they will also be used to distinguish the joint (TMJ) from the actual disorder of the joint (TMD).
One of the most painful and debilitating symptoms of TMD is migraine headache. Many physicians, even neurologists, have not received the dental training required to diagnose TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) problems and how they relate to your migraines. Neuromuscular dentistry is the branch of dentistry that helps people correct the jaw problems that have caused them pain for years, possibly even decades.
TMD causes migraines because the trigeminal nerve is one of the most powerful and complex nerves in the human body. This nerve is completely responsible for the temporomandibular joint and tooth functions and accounts for over 40% of the brain�s processing. The trigeminal nerve has three branches, all affecting various parts of the face, head, shoulders and arms. The pain and muscle tightness associated with TMD can even affect your hands and fingers.
Pain related to TMD may be sharp and searing or dull and constant. Pain is typically over the joint immediately in front of the ear but can radiate elsewhere and cause spasms in the muscles attached to the bones of the skull, face and jaws. Some of the most notable symptoms of TMD are:
. Limited jaw movement
. Locking, clicking, and popping of the jaw
. Tingling or numbness in the fingers
.Stiff or tight jaw muscles
.Ear problems, including ringing and pressure
.Neck, shoulder, and back pain
Many times, patients see doctors for severe headache and are given medications to treat the pain of the headache; however, there is often no treatment provided for what is actually causing the headaches. Neuromuscular dentistry is the specialized area of dentistry that treats the cause, not just the symptoms, of the painful headaches associated with a misaligned jaw.