Experiencing Jaw Pain?

Gerkin TMJ Dental Patient Christy

Malocclusion, known simply as a “bad bite”, might be the primary cause of a number of conditions like migraines, snapping sounds in the jaw joint, dizziness, and ear discomfort or itching. When teeth line up poorly — whether it’s from incorrect dental treatment, getting your dad’s dental genes, unhealthy behaviors or accidental oral trauma — it can make your daily life unpleasant. Thankfully, malocclusion is fixable.

Approximately 60 million people in America have Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJS).

For many years, the idea that a migraine headache was linked to the jaw joint was not taken seriously. Today, however, the medical and dental communities are of like mind that TMJS and chronic headaches/migraines are linked.

In fact, many patients saw many doctors on the medical merry-go-round, seeing doctor after doctor, before they came to our dental practice, often as a last hope for relief. That is because many people don’t recognize that their particular conditions are actually related to malocclusion.

Research through the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine looked at the existence of Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome in twenty-four individuals referred to a neurology clinic. The purpose was to determine the percentage of patients referred to a neurology clinic for headache where TMJS is the number one source of pain. They determined that 11 of the 24 patients with headache had TMJS. That percentage, nearly half is deemed a high proportion compared to the 15% in the general population of TMJS sufferers.

As evidence continues to grow regarding the link involving headaches and TMJS, sufferers who think they may have this disorder should talk with Dr. Gerkin. Dr. Gerkin has been to advanced training in this treatment.

Gerkin TMJ Dental Patient Jing Lee

Signs or Symptoms of TMJ

• Popping or clicking when yawning 
• Excessive yawning as you try to adjust your jaw 
• Headaches and/or migraines
• Light headedness
• Pain in jaw muscles
• Ringing ears
• Jaw at times locks up while yawning
• Spasms or cramps within the jaw area

A couple other seemingly unrelated symptoms include aching in your back, neck or shoulder. While discomfort in this area could be seen as having no relationship to the temporomandibular jaw joint, anyone who suffers from an unbalanced bite are likely to tilt their heads again and again, thereby forcing the neck, shoulder, and back muscles to stabilize the head.

Having your arms or hands “go to sleep” or go numb might also indicate TMJ syndrome. This results from nerves in your arms and hands being squeezed by muscle spasms in the neck, shoulders and face.

Last, but not least, you can develop chronic depression after years of never-ending aches and pains.

If you experienced one or more of these symptoms, speak to us. Dr. Gerkin’s treatment methods usually involve absolutely no pills, no shots, no surgical procedures, and no side effects. Dr. Gerkin can deal with these difficulties since they are most probably brought on by clenching your teeth while you are sleeping and occasionally throughout the day. Whenever you clench your teeth, you make use of a number of the most powerful muscles within your body. These muscle contractions may cause early morning headaches and/or stress headaches, and in many cases harm nearby ligaments, teeth, and other muscles.

The majority of dental treatment to treat malocclusion calls for the usage of a splint, or an oral device that temporarily adjusts the bite. In more severe cases, Dr. Gerkin could suggest a long-term improvement in the bite using tooth replacement, shifting teeth through orthodontic treatment, or a combination of bonding and crowns or veneers. For most affected individuals, the final results have been effective and their return to a pain-free condition has given these folks another chance for a considerably more rewarding life.

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  • Ben Gerkin, DDS
  • 4604 S. Harvard Ave. • Ste A
  • Tulsa, OK 74135
  • (918) 749-2509