The temporomandibular joint is where your lower jaw is connected to the rest of your skull. When the joint is out of balance, you can experience any number of symptoms, some of them seemingly unrelated, such as:
- Chronic headaches and facial pain
- Tooth grinding and clenching
- Jaws “locking” or making popping sounds
- Eye pain and eye problems
- Throat problems, such as difficulty swallowing
- Neck and shoulder problems, including arm and finger tingling, numbness, or pain
Your joint doesn’t always cause these symptoms. If the joint is properly aligned, you may have an occlusal muscle disorder, an imbalance in your bite that can cause problems with your teeth, muscles, jaw joint, or a combination of all three.
Dr. Flavin and the doctors at Healthy Smiles of Saint Louis have received extensive education and training in the diagnosis and treatment of TMD and occlusal muscle disorder. You will often be fitted with a splint, a mouthpiece that keeps your teeth from coming together or helps reposition your jaw. Some are worn at night, others can be worn 24 hours a day. If necessary, he may refer you to a physical therapist for treatment as well.