TMJ & Bite Problems

Do you suffer chronic tension headaches? Are you aware of increased chipping or wearing of your teeth? Do you avoid certain foods because it hurts your jaw to chew?

You may have Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD), or more commonly known as “TMJ”. TMJ is an acronym for temporomandibular joint, whereas TMD is a state characterized by chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint. The mandible (or lower jaw) is a unique bone in the body. It hangs suspended to the skull by muscles and ligaments which control the opening and closing of our mouths. The intricate working relationship between our jaw joint, jaw muscles, and teeth make up a unique bite and chewing pattern; but those relationship don’t always align harmoniously.

When there is disharmony (even a slight one) in the chewing pattern, the results can be dramatic. Excessive wear and tear on our teeth, over-worked muscles causing tension headaches, and detrimental physical changes to our jaw joint are some of the potential complications. For many people, a disharmony in the chewing pattern may not display symptoms as our body can often times adapt and compensate for small misalignments in our chewing pattern. However, this adaptive mechanisms the body uses to protect us may start to fatigue over time and symptoms may start to present themselves with greater frequency and or intensity later on in life.

One of the treatments we offer here at Mission Park Dental Clinic is a bite analysis using the Kois Deprogrammer appliance. This appliance helps us isolate and identify the discrepancies in the chewing pattern so that we may effectively and safely correct the signs and symptoms you may have with your bite.

Signs that you may be starting to develop TMD or “TMJ”may include:

  • Pain of the joint
  • Jaw joint clicking or popping
  • Chronic tension headaches
  • Discomfort or pain with repetitive chewing (such as problems with chewing gum) or limited to chewing certain foods only (ie not being able to chew hard foods like bagels)
  • Limited jaw opening
  • Severe wear or breakdown on the chewing surfaces of teeth

To find out more about TMD/TMJ as it may pertain specifically to you, please call to schedule a time to meet with Dr. Wong at Mission Park Dental in Kelowna for a personalized consultation.