Are you suffering from headaches, migraines, or jaw pain? Chronic pain can negatively affect your quality of life. But Ghina Morad, DMD offers solutions to debilitating pain and discomfort.
Referred pain from an infected tooth and teeth grinding can both lead to chronic headaches, which is why we begin with a thorough evaluation of your mouth. Tension headaches can cause severe pain in both the head and neck. Oftentimes, this pain feels like a band tightly wound around the head and is generally associated with stress and muscle tension in the face and jaw. Patients who suffer from chronic tension headaches may also be suffering from malocclusion or a misaligned bite that is causing a disturbance in the temporomandibular joint of the jaw.
Dr. Morad has a specific passion for helping patients suffering from tension headaches find relief through treating oral health issues. She has completed advanced certifications in occlusion analysis and adjustment to treat facial pain and tension headaches caused by teeth clenching and grinding. For more severe TMJ Disorder cases, she may recommend Disclusion Time Reduction (DTR) therapy that uses data on bite force and jaw muscle activity to pinpoint problem areas and rebalance the teeth for harmonious, pain-free chewing. Schedule a consultation at the office of Dr. Ghina Morad today!
For mild TMD cases, Dr. Morad offers NTI splints (or occlusal guards) that fit snugly over the two front teeth. These guards prevent back molars from touching and decrease the strength of force to help lessen the severity of bruxism, teeth grinding, and clenching. In many cases, patients who use NTI splints benefit from less frequent migraines and an improved quality of life.
For more serious cases of TMD, Dr. Morad can also inject Botox directly into the jaw muscles to provide a temporary paralytic effect that helps bring the force of the muscles back into their normal range of function.
A poor bite alignment or jaw position is often a contributing factor for TMD, or can even be the primary cause of this dental issue. For patients with a misaligned bite, TMD treatment may involve bite realignment using orthodontic treatment, crowns, or tooth bonding. Along with lifestyle changes, corrective dental treatment is often enough to completely eliminate TMD.
DTR therapy involves making very small adjustments to the surface of the teeth to eliminate faulty contact and create an even bite. Dr. Morad has received personal one-on-one training in DTR therapy from Dr. Robert Kernstein, the founder of the DTR concept, and has completed the second level of certification for DTR treatment. These advanced skills and training enable her to effectively detect and treat your TMD and help restore full function back to your jaw and mouth.
During your initial evaluation, we will use the Tekscan® to analyze the force of your lower jaw movement and detect at what points your teeth touch when you bite. With the BioEMG, we can show you in real-time the activity of your jaw muscles, the force generated, and how much it is spasming. With these advanced technologies, we can accurately pinpoint the exact location(s) and reason for your pain.
For your adjustments, we will schedule two or more treatment sessions, where we will manipulate the surfaces of your teeth based on the results of the Tekscan® and BioEMG to restore function to your joint, muscles, and bite. We will make tiny, painless “touch-ups” and adjustments of the tooth enamel to eliminate the extra contact that should not happen. This creates an even and equal biting surface so force is applied equally between all teeth when chewing.
TMJ is short hand for the temporomandibular joint. Similarly, TMD stands for temporomandibular joint dysfunction or disorder. They are typically used interchangeably when describing the pain and compromised movement of the jaw joint as well as the surrounding muscles. As the joint inflames, it can be incredibly painful for patients and often causes lock jaw, jaw clicking, and difficulty chewing or opening the mouth wide. Many people who have this condition have limited mouth function, cannot chew effectively, have chronic tension headaches, and other pain that affects the quality of their lives.
The symptoms of TMD vary quite a bit depending on the patient. You may experience issues like:
If you notice any of these symptoms, we recommend scheduling an appointment with your dentist right away to get help.
The temporomandibular joints connect your jaw to your skull and their muscles allow movement, including opening and closing of the mouth and moving side-to-side when eating. When teeth are aligned and working together correctly, no excessive amount of strain is added to these joints or muscles outside of the normal functioning. However, a damaged joint or any faulty contact of the teeth when chewing adds additional stress to these muscles, which may click, pop, spasm, or freeze as a result. Many times, clenching and grinding (bruxism) of the teeth is associated with this condition as well.
TMD and TMJ pain is caused by a variety of different issues:
Because TMD and TMJ pain can be caused by so many different health issues, it’s important to see an experienced dentist when seeking care.
There are many reasons a patient may suffer from chronic headaches and migraines. But as it relates to dentistry, common causes include:
Some cases of mild TMD may go away on their own with lifestyle changes, such as ceasing gum chewing, de-stressing to eliminate teeth clenching, and more. However, if you suffer from the symptoms of TMD for more than a week or two, your condition may be chronic. To learn more about your specific case of TMD, it’s best to seek a qualified, experienced dentist to get the help you need.
There are a few steps you can take to treat TMJ pain on your own. Jaw exercises may help strengthen the jaw muscles and joints, which can help provide you with relief from the effects of TMD.
In addition, applying hot and cold compresses to the area at 10-minute intervals can help with inflammation and control the pain and discomfort of TMD as your jaw heals.
It’s also a good idea to take steps to decrease jaw clenching, such as exercising and de-stressing to reduce the likelihood of nighttime teeth grinding. You may also want to consider ceasing gum chewing, and eating a diet of mostly soft foods to minimize the work your jaw muscles must do while they heal.
You can also use over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen and acetaminophen to help control pain and inflammation as your jaw heals, and you recover from TMD.
While some cases of TMD are minor and can be resolved with these simple steps and other at-home remedies, you should consider seeking help if you experience serious pain and discomfort, or if your symptoms persist for 1-2 weeks or longer.
For some patients, wearing an NTI splint at night does not effectively alleviate symptoms of their TMD. Many times, this is because they suffer from faulty contact when their teeth touch that causes disturbances in their mouth during the day when they chew. To protect the back teeth from touching in unideal locations when chewing, the jaw muscles reflex and freeze to avoid these teeth from cracking or fracturing. This spasming of the muscles can trigger clenching and grinding, which also wears heavily on the teeth and can cause further damage. Disclusion Time Reduction (DTR) therapy is used to treat the most severe cases of TMD.