Erie, Harborcreek and Millcreek, PA
In your medicine cabinet at home or in a drawer at work, you probably have a bottle of ibuprofen or aspirin on hand. You have to in case a headache rears its ugly head. What do you do when these headaches become more frequent or chronic? If you’re taking over-the-counter pain relievers to deal with your frequent headaches, you’re treating the symptom and not addressing the cause. Many people simply attribute regularly occurring headaches to stress, but that doesn’t have to be part of your life. Certain causes of frequent headaches can be treated, eliminating the headaches from happening. Dr. Albert Starr of Laser Dentistry of Erie wants to address the connection between chronic headaches and temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder, and what you can do if you think that you have it.
What is temporomandibular joint disorder?
Commonly known as TMJ disorder, it deals with any dysfunction or malfunction of the temporomandibular joint, which connects your jaw to your skull and allows you to open and close your jaw. The temporomandibular joint is complex; it consists of bones, cartilage, tendons, and muscles that work collaboratively to help you open and close your jaw.
What are the symptoms of TMJ disorder?
All the muscles and joints in your body work together as a unit. If the temporomandibular joint starts to malfunction, it often causes pain. This pain can be in your jaw, face, temples, head, neck, and even radiate to your extremities. Learn more about the symptoms of TMJ disorder.
Who gets TMJ disorder?
This disorder is more common than you may think. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research cites certain estimates that more than 10 million Americans are living with TMJ disorder. Many patients who suffer from TMJ disorder may assume that it is caused by stress. Stress can make TMJ more severe, but that isn’t a typical cause. At Laser Dentistry of Erie, we often find that TMJ disorder is caused by an injury to your jaw, a misaligned bite, teeth grinding or clenching (also known as bruxism), arthritis, and even poor posture.
How is TMJ treated?
To treat TMJ in Erie, Dr. Albert Starr must consider several variables before diagnosing the cause of your condition. It can depend on how your jaw joint fits together, how you move your jaw when you chew, how your teeth rest, and other physical factors. Once Dr. Albert Starr has diagnosed the source of your TMJ disorder, he will provide treatment—usually through the use of an oral appliance. These oral appliances are custom-made mandibular advancement devices that push the lower jaw forward, re-aligning your bite and jaw, which provide relief to the jaw joints, and relief from those chronic TMJ-related headaches.
TMJ relief in Erie
Not all frequent headaches are caused by TMJ disorder, but there is no possible way of knowing for sure unless you receive an evaluation by a TMJ specialist in Erie. Dr. Starr is a neuromuscular dentist, a specialized field that focuses on the alignment of the bite and jaw. A neuromuscular dentist can identify a case of TMJ disorder and then provide relief. He can help determine if your headaches are related to TMJ disorder or possibly have another major cause that can be pinpointed. Either way, Dr. Starr wants to help you. Contact Laser Dentistry of Erie today at (814) 825-2615 if you are located in the Harborcreek, Millcreek, or Erie, PA areas.