Dentistry/TMJ Pain

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Question
hi a couple of months ago i had some pain in my jaw that went to my ears and side of my head (behind my ears) which caused headaches there was also some clicking when i opened my mouth.Now i have pain in my whole jaw mainly the left side and some muscle twitching in my chin.My question is can tmj cause pain in the whole jaw or just the joint infront of the ears? also when i press my ear is causes pain in my jaw.

Answer
Hi Sarah,

Yes, TMJ can cause pain in your jaw, ears, in front of your ears, cause headaches and muscle twitching. It is also common for people to complain of neck pain and believe it or not, many other seemingly unrelated places in your body.  In all my years listening to TMJ sufferers, I have never heard of two cases that are the same.

If you have read my posts, my mantra has always been to find a dentist that specializes in TMJ treatment.  99.9% of dentists will say they can treat TMJ, but only a small minority of them, have the experience of constantly working with TMJ patients every day they go into the office. The best dentists, that can treat you for TMJ are the ones that have had a lot of practice working specifically with TMJ complaints.

Probably the most common method of treatment for TMJ is for the dentist to make a night guard for you to sleep in.  The night guard will prevent your teeth from grinding and hopefully take some of the pressure off of your ears.  So instead of your jaw constantly jamming itself up in your ears, the night guard will create just enough room to prevent that from happening.

Any dentist, can take an impression of your teeth, send that impression off to the lab and have them make a night guard. That is the easy part. The tricky part is what the dentist does with the night guard, once receiving it from the lab. The dentist has to do a "fitting" where they tailor the night guard to be evenly balanced and comfortable in your mouth.  Sometimes if can take a few visits, because further adjustments need to be made to the night guard appliance, to get it just right.  I have found that dentists, who have had the most practice, do a better job at fitting your appliance. It's almost like an art form.

When you find the right dentist, and go for your appointment, think conservative...."Do no harm."  Any kind of treatment that involves filing or altering your natural born teeth, I would be wary of.

I'm going to recommend a great book that I found called "The TMJ Healing Plan: Ten Steps to Relieving Headaches, Neck Pain and Jaw Disorders" by Cynthia Peterson.

Thanks for your question and good luck in finding the right treatment for your jaw pain.

Best Regards,
Jonathan
PatientBabble.com  

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Jonathan at PatientBabble

Expertise

My area of expertise from the patients point of view would be Dentistry/TMJ plus the speech challenges that these jaw and bite problems sometimes represent. Over the years I have seen a multitude of dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, speech therapists, neurologists and other health professionals who all had an opinion about my TMJ/bite problem. I AM NOT A DOCTOR...but would purely be a patients point of view type person. I "get it" when people say they tried to explain to their dentist what their TMJ/bite problem is and that they are misunderstood. I can listen to people's trials and tribulations and there is a good chance I have been down that road before. I can make suggestions as to what people can do at home, or what questions to ask their doctor or dentist when they visit. I will try and recall information or experiences that may be helpful to you.

Experience

About 25 years ago, I had my wisdom teeth out and since then my bite has never felt "normal." For whatever reason, the first sensation I remember was not that my bite was off.....but rather that my normal tongue and speech patterns had been impeded. I spent years going to different dentists, who lumped me into their generic version of what they knew about TMJ. The majority of dentists believe they can treat TMJ, but only those whose primary focus is TMJ treatment, are really any good at it. Any dentist, can take an impression of your teeth, send that impression off to the lab and have them make a night guard. That is the easy part. The tricky part is what the dentist does with the night guard, once receiving it from the lab. The dentist has to do a "fitting" where they tailor the night guard to be evenly balanced and comfortable in your mouth. Sometimes it can take a few visits, because further adjustments need to be made to the night guard appliance, to get it just right. I have found that dentists, who have had the most practice, do a better job at fitting your appliance. It's almost like an art form.

Organizations
Jonathan's Blog is: https://patientbabble.squarespace.com/jonathans-blog

Education/Credentials
College Graduate with Bachelor of Arts Degree

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