If you’ve been struggling with some odd symptoms involving your neck, face, mouth, and/or jaw, you may be suffering from what is known as TMJ or TMD. A temporomandibular joint; this joint acts like a hinge to open and close your jaw. The TMJ attaches your mandible to your skull, and you have one on both sides of your head. If your jaw hurts or clicks and pops when you chew, you may be wondering where to go for treatment.
TMD stands for “temporomandibular joint disorder(s)” and is often used interchangeably with TMJ. You may hear people complain about their TMJ or ask, “Whom should I see for treatment?” You may be surprised to learn that the best doctors are actually neuromuscular dentists.
TMD is often misdiagnosed or missed completely because the headaches are migraine-like in intensity, and some of the other symptoms resemble a condition known as Trigeminal Neuralgia. The trigeminal nerves (we all have two of them) are the control center for the jaw and brain, and when the trigeminal nerves are overworked, migraines may occur. If you are misdiagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, your symptoms will not improve. Or, if you are treated for only the pain from your headaches, the TMJ problem will not be addressed.
The best TMJ dentists will use neuromuscular dentistry skills to discern trigeminal neuralgia from TMJ disorder. The former feels more like electric shocks, whereas painful, tight, aching jaw.