TMJ Treatment and Headache Pain

TMJ dentist near Atlanta Georgia

Many people suffer from jaw and bite problems, without realizing that those problems can be resolved.

Neuromuscualr dentistry in Suwanee Georgia

Effective treatment for headaches and jaw pain

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that hinges your lower jaw to the temporal bone of your skull. Jaw joint pain, clicking or popping of the joint and headaches are common symptoms of a TMJ disorder (TMD).

Dr. Finkel is a recognized authority in TMJ disorders. He is specially trained to diagnose and treat jaw disorders, more commonly known as TMD. In addition to his training in general and cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Finkel has completed hundreds of hours of advanced dental training in the field of neuromuscular dentistry.

Neuromuscular dentistry focuses on correcting misaligned jaw joints. The way your upper and lower teeth meet (your bite) during chewing or at rest is known as occlusion. Neuromuscular dentists work to determine the optimal position of the jaw to correct misalignment and adjust occlusion in order to alleviate stress from the jaw muscles that can cause the painful symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).

Dr. Finkel studied with Dr. Barnie Jankelson and Dr. Janet Travell, two of the doctors/researchers whose work formed the basis of Neuromuscular Dentistry, Myofascial Pain Therapy and treatment for TMD. Dr. Finkel can determine what type of headache or jaw pain therapy is right for you.

If you think that you have TMJ and you live in the Atlanta area, call us at 770-497-9111 to request an appointment or click here to request an appointment online.


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Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorder (“TMD”)
Causes of TMJ Disorders
Treatment Options for TMJ

Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorder ("TMD")

TMD Jaw disorder solutions in Suwanee GA

TMJ disorders have many signs and symptoms. Some of the most common are the following:

  • Pain in or around the ear; this pain often spreads to the face

  • Tenderness of the jaw muscles

  • Clicking or popping noise when opening or closing the mouth

  • Difficulty in opening one’s mouth

  • Jaws that "get stuck", "lock", or "go out"

  • Pain brought on by yawning, chewing or opening the mouth widely

  • Certain types of headaches or neck aches

We can determine the cause of your symptoms by conducting a series of diagnostic tests. These may include a complete medical history, a clinical examination, x-rays and study models of your teeth.

We may also refer you to a physician or other specialist. Although this course of action may initially seem time-consuming, proper diagnosis is vital to providing the appropriate treatment, and can actually save you time and money in the long run.

Causes of TMJ Disorders

  • Misaligned bite.Your bite is how your teeth come together. Misalignments in bite, such as an overbite, cause undue stress on the muscles that move the jaw when chewing and on the nerves that control these muscles.

  • As well as causing TMJ pain, this pain can also be “referred” to other parts of the head and neck. A bad bite can occur as a result of genetic jaw misalignments, through trauma and as a result of broken-down or worn teeth.

  • Teeth clenching and grinding (Bruxism)

  • Some people are habitual teeth grinders, often done unknowingly during sleep. This constant pressure on the TMJ causes the muscles to tense, leading to various symptoms of pain.

  • Dislocation of the joint from the socket

  • Trauma and injury

  • Stress

  • People experiencing a great amount of stress can get into the habit of tightening their facial and jaw muscles or clench their teeth.

Example 1:

Paula is under a great deal of pressure from work. She develops a habit of grinding her teeth while sleeping. This causes muscle spasms and eventually pain and tenderness in her jaw muscles. Because of these problems, a slight change in the position of Paula’s jaw occurs, and her teeth no longer fit together correctly. She develops a new chewing pattern, and this increases the muscle spasms.

Example 2:

Since childhood, David’s teeth did not fit together correctly when his mouth is closed. This never seemed to be much of a problem for him, but now his bad bite triggers teeth clenching and causes his chewing muscles to function incorrectly. Muscle spasm occurs, and pain limits the normal range of David’s jaw movements. As a result, David’s chewing pattern changes, and this contributes to his TMD.


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Treatment Options for TMJ Disorders

Generally, our goal in dealing with TMD is to reduce the stress on the teeth, muscles and joints to allow for healing and relief from pain. We also work with you on nutritional and lifestyle modifications, so that your body has a greater capacity to deal with negative factors and can resist stress that can lead to painful outcomes.

If you suffer from TMD, Dr. Finkel will put together a custom treatment plan that will relieve your pain and allow you to restore your joints to their natural, relaxed and comfortable function. Your treatment plan could include:

Using the TENS machine, Dr. Finkel can relax the jaw joint and return it to its natural position.

Using the TENS machine, Dr. Finkel can relieve muscle spasms and relax your muscles, allowing the jaw joint to regain its natural position.

Elimination of spasm and pain. In addition to massage or moist heat, Dr. Finkel will also use a technology called ULF-TENS, which stands for Ultra Low Frequency Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation. ULF-TENS simply relaxes the jaw muscles with gentle massaging. This increases blood flow and stimulates the body’s natural production of endorphins.

Dr. Finkel may also use bite plates or occlusal (bite) splints to further relax the muscles, decompress the jaw joints and to protect the teeth.

Counseling or biofeedback/relaxation training. Many times, counseling is used in addition to other forms of treatment. If emotional stress is the factor that causes clenching or grinding of the teeth, that stress should be reduced or eliminated. Biofeedback can also be helpful in reducing muscle tension in the jaw. An "overlay" appliance or dental restorations may be required to support the joints and muscles in the proper position.

Correcting the way the teeth fit together. If your bite is incorrect or uneven, it can be adjusted by selective grinding of the teeth. Orthodontic appliance (braces) and other dental procedures may also be used to reduce problems caused by incorrect tooth contact (improperly aligned teeth).

Surgery. If muscle spasms have occurred for long periods, the TMJ joint itself may become injured or arthritic. In addition, the bones and soft tissue of the TMJ may slip out of normal position because of trauma, such as a blow to the head, or some other cause. Occasionally, in severe cases such as these, surgery may be needed to correct the TMJ problem.

Call us at (770) 212-9691 to request a consultation  or request a consultation online.