Frequent headaches? Schedule a visit to the dentist

Do you suffer from frequent headaches that have no apparent cause?

Do you have ear, neck or facial pain, especially upon waking?

If you are suffering from these symptoms you may be one of the many adults today who unknowingly have a temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Because these are not symptoms we would typically associate with a dental problem, we don’t often think to mention them to the dentist during regular preventive care visits.

Signs and symptoms of TMD:

  • Headaches
  • Shoulder, neck, facial pain
  • Clicking or popping when opening or closing jaw
  • Locked jaw or limited mobility in the jaw joint
  • Teeth clenching, teeth grinding, often accompanied by tooth wear
  • Chronic earaches

Drs. Neuhaus, the father-son dental team at Creekside Dentistry in Amherst, have extensive training and experience in treating patients with TMD, also commonly referred to as TMJ- the temporomandibular joint connecting the jaw to the lower skull. TMD is the result of an imbalance in the bite which can have a variety of causes:

  • Trauma to the head, neck, or face
  • Trauma to the TMJ joint or arthritis
  • Hormonal changes or imbalances
  • Malocclusion (where the jaws do not line up correctly resulting in bite problems)
  • Stress

Dr. Walter Neuhaus and Dr. Karl Neuhaus will perform a comprehensive exam of the entire occlusal system (the bite) to determine where the instability is originating and develop a treatment or therapy plan that will realign the jaw and bring long term results for their patients who may be suffering with the disruptive symptoms of TMD.

There are many options available to TMD patients, but it is common for a custom fit mouth guard to be prescribed as part of the treatment. Teeth grinding is a very common symptom of TMD and can often lead to additional dental health issues such as gum disease or damage to the teeth. It can also be the cause of those persistent head and ear aches because of the pressure placed on the TMJ during teeth grinding. The customized mouth guard is typically worn at night to protect the teeth and reduce the pressure placed on the TMJ by preventing teeth grinding.

Drs. Neuhaus may suggest that patients with more complex issues caused by TMD consider restorative procedures to realign the bite. If you think you may be suffering from TMD, contact Creekside Dentistry to schedule a consultation.