By Dr. Stephen Durham
Most headaches are caused by poor alignment of the teeth and jaw.
Chances are you don’t know you have it. More than one in every three people suffers from it. Poor alignment of the teeth and jaw causes problems that go far beyond the bite. Headaches, neck pain, numbness, dizziness, ringing in the ears – so many symptoms in fact that this disorder is called “the great pretender.”
Since studies suggest that over 92% of persistent headaches come from this misalignment, called TMD, we are dedicated to getting to the bottom of it. To fix it we look beyond the jaw, to the muscles. The muscles that pull the jaw shut are anchored throughout the neck and skull. The path those muscles take is the key ingredient in both the cause and cure of TMD.
Getting the muscles to behave properly is how we do it. In most cases a person has been biting that way all their life – since their permanent teeth first came in. They’ve gotten used to it.
So How Do We See What’s Wrong?
We use a measuring technique called EMG (electromyogram) that shows exactly how each muscle is firing. It’s based on the same technology doctors use to make an EKG. With this graph the path of the bite becomes clear. We also make a scan called a CMS, and together these two tests show us how the muscles are working – 3D and in real time. With that picture of how it’s working now, we can design a muscle path that will give a more harmonious alignment.
Making Those Muscles Happy For A Change
Next we record a model that shows your ideal bite, and we sculpt a comfortable orthotic – a guide that will bring the jaw to the right alignment. We fit that guide and fine-tune it to your ideal bite. Treatment for TMD is highly successful, but the first step is being aware that you have it. At our practice we make that as easy as possible because of all the good that begins with bringing it to light.