Your Chiropractor + Your Dentist + Your TMJ
Updated: Apr 12
I have recently partnered up with my favorite West Chester Dentist— Dr. Lee Brown at Brown and Kupper DDS.
⠀ I really love when I connect with other doctors who really have a passion for what they do and most importantly a passion for helping their patients—(because this is my jam!). I will only refer my patients to other practitioners that I trust and can communicate easily with. ⠀ Dr. Brown and I recently met to discuss how we can help even more of our patients and agree that it takes a TEAM effort to get the very best results⠀ ⠀ When it comes to your TMJ dysfunction/pain/popping it’s often more complicated than it seems. ⠀ From a dentist standpoint the grinding, clenching and deviation upon opening can really harm and affect your teeth!⠀ Dr. Brown knows how to protect the teeth but was searching for more of an answer and long term fix—that’s when we collided and met As a chiropractor I work on the joint itself and help treat the muscular imbalance happening with the muscles that control the jaw and make sure we take unnecessary pressure off the joint. We teach stretches and exercises as well as tips and tricks to stop night grinding and day clenching⠀ One of the best things I can recommend for someone experiencing TMJ pain, tension, popping is to first talk with your dentist—let them know you’re experiencing it— and ask them if they know a good chiropractor who can help!⠀ Then find you a chiropractor who focuses on not just adjusting but soft tissue release of the jaw (inside and out!)⠀ Check out the video below about how we can both work together to get you the BEST results!⠀
Lets take a look at the jaw.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. You have on
e joint on each side of your jaw.
TMJ disorders — a type of temporomandibular disorder or TMD — can cause pain in your jaw joint, in the muscles that control jaw movement, popping/clicking, and can sometimes cause headaches.
Take a look at this picture. It is important to note that the lower jaw (the mandible) is essentially held in a muscle sling that is hanging off the skull. The muscles themselves that support the jaw are found in the neck, cheeks and on the skull and mandible.
Many of the causes of TMJ disorders include:
Injury to the teeth or jaw
Misalignment of the teeth or jaw
Teeth Grinding or Clenching
Gum Chewing or Chewing on one side of the mouth
The pillow and position you sleep in
Mouth Breathing at night
Sleep Apnea or Snoring
Assessment of the head, neck and jaw is the most important first step.
A dentist should notice wear and tear on your teeth from clenching and grinding. This is a pretty good indication for TMJ dysfunction. What a Dentist does not do is asses how the TMJ is opening and closing and notes the balance or imbalance of the muscles that control the joint--these include the masseter, the temporalis, the lateral and medial pterygoid, and digastric muscles.
Where a Chiropractor comes into play
The dentist also doesn't evaluate your posture, muscle tension, and joint function of the head and neck which can greatly contribute to the jaw function! This is what a Chiropractor is for and this is why we make such a great team in treating the patient as a whole!
What makes treating the TMJ so complicated is that typically patients will begin to have dysfunction long before they experience pain or popping/clicking. It's also one of the most commonly used joints, so the muscles never really get a break! Think about how often you are eating, drinking, chewing, talking, and add grinding and clenching--whew I'm exhausted just thinking about how much work our jaws do every day.
Treatment from a Chiropractic standpoint includes a lot of soft tissue work to release tension and knots in the muscles of mastication. It also includes at home stretches and exercises to help decrease tension and improve proper opening function of the jaw. It's important during treatment we make grinding and clenching a subconscious habit to begin to break and getting your jaw into its resting position a lot throughout the day (tongue on the roof of your mouth, teeth apart, lips together!). Treatment will also include neck and upper back adjustments, exercises to improve posture, and tips on sleep position and pillow type.
Team work makes the dream work. If your doctors aren’t communicating and working together then you need some new doctors😉
We want what’s best for our patients and sometimes that includes some help from different specialties!
**also if you’re looking for an AMAZING dentist in the West Chester area check out Brown and Kupper DDS ---www.dentistwestchester.com
If you have any questions at all, feel free to reach out. I'd be happy to help