Troubled by TMJ?

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We can address the underlying reasons TMJ occurs and resolve the troubles you experience.

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Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a joint that connects your lower jaw (the mandible) to the temporal bone of your skull and is located just in front of the ear.

TMJ Treatment Denver

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TMJ Explained

In between these two bones there is a cartilage disk which separates the bones and allows them to articulate, or move, smoothly against each other. The TMJ is a unique type of joint, technically called “ginglymoarthrodial” which means that it allows for rotation and translation, or it lets you move your lower jaw up and down, side to side, and front to back simultaneously, so you can perform all the motions necessary to speak and eat.

What is TMJ?
What are the causes of TMJ?
What are the Symptoms of TMD?

Problems with your jaw joint, or TMJ, and the muscles that control it are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD) or temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJD).

TMD symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of your jaw or with the parts of the joint itself. Injury to your jaw, the joint, or the muscles of your head and neck -- like from a heavy blow or whiplash -- can lead to TMD.

However, there is another underlying cause, which is not commonly known: TMD can be caused by underdevelopment of the upper jaw, or Maxilla leading to a retruded, or pushed back, lower jaw.

Breathe Correct focuses on promoting proper development of the jaws and airway and thus our treatments can improve TMD symptoms even when other options have not. Other causes include:

  • Teeth that don’t line up or fit together properly
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the joint
  • Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between the bones of the joint
  • Arthritis of the joint
  • Imbalance of the muscles that control the joint
  • Stress, which can cause you to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth

The temporomandibular joints are complex structures containing muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones. Injury to, imbalance, dysfunction, or disorders of these structures can all result in pain in the jaw area, headaches, migraines, clicking or popping of the jaw when opening or closing, limited jaw opening, dislocation of the jaw, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus). The pain may occur when chewing or may occur at rest. It is important to have a full medical evaluation because other medical conditions not related to the TMJ may cause perceived pain in the jaw area as well. TMD often causes severe pain and discomfort which can be temporary or last many years and it might affect one or both sides of your face. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain or tenderness of your face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, head, and/or in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide
  • Limited range of opening of the mouth without pain
  • Jaws that get "stuck" or "lock" in the open- or closed-mouth position
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew. This may or may not be painful.
  • A tired feeling in your face
  • Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite -- as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly
  • Swelling on the side of your face

You may also have toothaches, headaches, migraines, neck aches, dizziness, earaches, upper shoulder pain, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).

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What can Breathe Correct do?

At Breathe Correct we will review your full medical history and symptoms as well as perform an evaluation of the TMJs and surrounding muscles and structures to determine the potential cause of your condition.

During our treatments we utilize a combination of oral appliances, which are chosen and designed on a case by case basis to address each patient’s specific symptoms and condition, along with physical therapy exercises to strengthen, coordinate, and balance the muscles which support the jaw joint.

We also can take and review a 3D CBCT xray of your jaws so we can see the bone structure and position of your jaw joints. Following our thorough evaluation, we can discuss underlying causes and treatment options for the condition.

What we often find is that underdeveloped jaw bones can cause the teeth to become crowded and not fit together properly. When this happens, the muscles have to compensate and pull the jaw into a position where the teeth fit. Over time this leads to imbalances and excess strain on some muscles which can lead to TMD symptoms and also cause degeneration of the joint itself.

Another reason that the muscles would have to activate to get the teeth together is if the upper jaw is underdeveloped. When this is the case the muscles have to pull the lower jaw backward for the back teeth to touch and this puts increased strain on the muscles as well as compresses the jaw joint which can lead to pain, jaw clicking and popping and joint deterioration over time.

Our treatments work with the body’s natural mechanisms to restore proper function, strengthen and coordinate the muscles that support the jaw joint and promote development of the upper and/or lower jaw to their ideal dimensions and position so the muscles don’t have to work as hard to get the teeth together.

We also evaluate our patients for signs of Sleep Disordered Breathing as this can contribute to TMD as well. Studies have shown that if a person has obstructive sleep apnea they will clench and grind their teeth when they have difficulty breathing during sleep and this repeated clenching and grinding during sleep puts additional stress on the muscles and joints while also damaging the teeth over time. For this reason, we recommend anyone who clenches or grinds their teeth have their sleep evaluated as this may be a case of undiagnosed sleep apnea which can have many other negative health effects.

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There are two Breathe Correct centers in Colorado—each center with highly skilled staff and doctors that focus exclusively on treating sleep disordered breathing and obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Treatment In Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs
1750 Telstar Drive
Suite 200
Colorado Springs, CO  80920

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Sleep Apnea Treatment In Denver

3300 East 1st Ave
Suite 690
Denver, CO 80206

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