Have you noticed a clicking or popping in your jaw, headaches, pain in your neck or shoulder, or a ringing in your ears? These problems are often misdiagnosed or dismissed by dentists as having no physiological cause. However, these problems may be a sign of TMJ or TMD.

TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint. This is not a disorder but actually the name of the jaw joint. It connects the temporal bone of the skull to the mandible or lower jaw. People often state that they have TMJ as if it is a disease.

If you went to an orthopod with knee problems and he diagnosed you as having knee, you would probably look for a new MD. So it is with TMJ. Everybody has TMJ, in fact, everybody has two TM Joints unless a surgeon has removed one.

I began working with Dr. Shapira several months ago regarding a case of debilitating TMJ. He uses innovative technology to measure jaw movement, ensuring that his splint treatment is precise. He also works with patients to help them understand and treat the muscular component of TMJ (something not offered by the four previous dentists I had seen for my condition). 

TMD stands for Temporomandibular Disorders. These disorders can be divided into three groups. The first is intracapsular problems or problems inside of the joint. These problems would include clicking, popping, crepitation, and joints that get stuck and will not allow movements such as opening, closing, chewing, or side to side movements.

The second type of problem is capsular problems, or problems in the tissues directly enveloping the joint. These first two are often considered together as joint disorders. The TM Joint is subject to the same damage as every other joint of the body including arthritis tears or fractures of the joint tissues and various inflammatory and infectious processes.

The last group of disorders are the extracapsular disorders and that is where the confusion enters. TMD is often called The Great Imposter. It is given this name because of the wide variety of disorders that are associated with it. The more common symptoms associated with TMD include:

  • headaches
  • facial pain
  • otalgia or ear aches
  • retro-orbital pain or pain behind the eyes
  • tinnitus or ringing in the ear
  • itchy ears
  • clogged or stuffy ears known as estacian tube dysfunction.
  • neck pain shoulder pain
  • numbness in the hands and fingertips
  • chronic fatigue
  • fibromyalgia
  • equilibrium problems
  • dizziness or vertigo
  • depression
  • trigeminal neuralgia
  • tooth pain with no findings and root canal pain
  • sinus pain and feeling of fullness
  • chiropractic problems that do not respond well to treatment

TMJ or TMD can potentially have devastating effects on your overall health and well-being. Some patients wear their teeth down because of constant grinding, while others may suffer from severe migraines. People in need of neuromuscular dental treatment may also suffer from sleep apnea and snoring.

The medical literature actually reports that patients with TMD Problems utilize health care at a rate 300% higher than patients who do not have TMD disorders.

It is estimated that over half of Americans suffer from TMJ and TMD to varying degrees. Fortunately, TMJ disorders and TMD can be treated with neuromuscular dentistry. The goal of TMJ treatment is to improve the quality of life by eliminating symptoms and stabilizing the entire system.

If you are considering TMJ/TMD treatment in Gurnee, please call  to schedule your TMJ/TMD treatment consultation today!