Biting and chewing are such routine actions, and most people rarely think about the complex mechanism that makes these processes work so effortless. Just moving the jaw up and down seems simple, but the process of mastication (chewing) requires nerves, muscles, joints, bones, and teeth to interact seamlessly. When they do not work together, a painful, chronic condition as TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder) can develop, which causes a whole host of pain, sometimes debilitating symptoms.
Mechanics of Motion
A group of four muscles — the tensor tympani, tensor veli palatini, mylohyoid, and the digastrics — raise the lower jaw (mandible) up to the upper dental arch (maxilla). The mandible moves up and back aided by the temporomandibular joint, often called the TMJ.
The TMJ is one of the most complex joints in our body, which is why dentists not trained in neuromuscular dentistry may not accurately diagnose TMD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction). Michigan neuromuscular dentists, Dr. Doolin, Dr. Haddad, and Dr. Tironi, are experienced in diagnosing and treating TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder) and will not overlook any potential TMJ problems.
The top and bottom rows of teeth fit together when the muscles and TMJ do their job. Usually, it feels like our two rows of teeth match perfectly. Actually, most people have some degree of malocclusion, a misalignment of the teeth generally called underbite or overbite.
Small Problems Become Big Problems
Many patients and some dentists may not worry about malocclusion or consider it a serious issue. However, misaligned teeth force facial muscles into a stressed position, which can eventually cause TMD. Most often with TMD, the articular disc has become displaced, allowing painful bone-to-bone contact.
TMD can cause a broad range of symptoms. Even though the issue begins with the teeth and jaw, pain can spread to other regions of the face, head, neck, and shoulders through the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve activates facial movements like chewing, but it is also responsible for carrying pain signals from all parts of the head and face.
TMD should only be treated by a trained neuromuscular dentist like Dr. Kurt Doolin, Dr. Jeffrey Haddad, and Dr. Marco Tironi, who serve Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township and surrounding areas of Michigan. If you have chronic headaches, muscle pain, or other symptoms, please contact Rochester Advanced Dentistry online or call (248) 656-2020 right away.