Why Dental Oral Mouth Splints May Not Be Enough to Treat Your Jaw Pain and Headaches
We often get patients presenting with a myriad of TMJ (jaw) related symptoms such as headache, jaw pain, clicking, blocked ears, dizziness and others, who have been prescribed a splint / mouth plate by their dentist as the definitive treatment.
Many of these Melbourne TMJ patients are grinding or clenching and while the splint is sometimes a necessity to help protect the teeth from the forces of clenching and grinding (bruxism), it is often not enough to settle down all their symptoms.
The reason that oral splinting therapy may not be sufficient is that the spine, neck and head-on- neck position may be part of the problem. This occurs in 2 separate ways.
- Firstly, the neck can be the source of symptoms which manifest on the face and around the area of the TMJ (jaw). This is commonly understood in the medical and dental world, but not often factored into treatment of patients who require this area of the body to be treated in conjunction to dental or medical management/
- Secondly, the mechanics of the neck and head-on-neck position can have an impact on the mechanical function of the TMJ (Jaw) and related muscles. This is a poorly understood fact by both the medical and dental worlds. The relationship between head-on-neck position and the TMJ (jaw) can be somewhat likened to that of wheel alignment of a car the effect on car tyres.
If you have a wheel alignment issue in your car but you do not drive it great distances, then the unbalanced loads on the car tyres will occur slowly and may never pose much of a problem.
If however you suddenly decided to drive your car from Melbourne to Adelaide and then took it ‘off road’ on uneven surfaces, all of a sudden the wheel alignment issue would begin to manifest more obviously in the way the car was driving and the way the tyres were wearing away.
The TMJ and head-on-neck relationship can be viewed in much the same way.
If there is an alignment issue with regards to how the head is sitting on the top of the neck / spine, this impacts on the way in which the both left and right TMJs (jaw joints) are functioning. Many such issues can go un-noticed and may result in a painless click in the jaw. If however, the stressors on the jaw and its muscles increase for any reason, such as clenching / grinding from emotional stress, dental procedures requiring keeping the mouth own for extended periods, forceful extractions of say wisdom teeth, etc., then the fact that the TMJ’s are in a slightly misaligned position suddenly starts to produce other symptoms such as pain, headache, blocked ears etc.
As you can then understand, treatment by way of a mouth splint only, may not be sufficient to settle down these structural issues and specialised physiotherapy to the head, neck and TMJ is then required.
If you are experiencing any face jaw or ear pain, headaches, clicking of the jaw or even ‘brain fog’ type symptoms, then you may be suffering from TMD (temporomandibular disorder).
Call us on 95008656 for a comprehensive 1 hour assessment consultation where we can help you determine the possible sources of your issues and can assist you in your management.
Don’t suffer in silence, call us today for rapid relief and lasting results.