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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

The Jaw Bone’s Connected to… Everything: Jaw function and alignment can affect the rest of your body and overall health, says Dr. Navid Zamani

Dec 31, 2012 10:56AM ● By Navid Zamani, DMD

Many people suffer from constant jaw problems, with symptoms that range from a small scraping sensation or clicking sound to mouth pain, headaches, migraines, neck and shoulder pain, ringing in the ears and even tingling in the fingers. Understanding just how the jaw functions and how its alignment can affect the rest of the body is the first step toward achieving perfect balance and harmony.

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMD) is a non-specific term for a variety of pain/dysfunction conditions of the head and neck. The temporomandibular joint of the jaw was once thought to be the source of most of these ailments, but today we know that there are many causes of head and neck problems that may or may not be related to a single cause.

Although the symptoms of TMD may be viewed as being medical conditions not related to dentistry, a specially trained neuromuscular dentist is qualified to diagnose and treat a variety of related conditions. Pain or dysfunction of the head and neck, for instance, is one very common condition that might be resolved very simply or might turn out to be very complex and frustrating to treat, depending upon the circumstances. Sometimes consultation is necessary with a physician, ear, nose and throat specialist, physical therapist, chiropractor or massage therapist.

If it is suspected that a patient suffers from this type of problem, the neuromuscular dentist may ask about symptoms and their severity. Musculoskeletal signs and symptoms include headaches, jaw joint pain, jaw joint noise or clicking, limited mouth opening, ear congestion, dizziness, ringing in the ears, difficulty swallowing, loose teeth, clenching or grinding, facial pain, sensitive teeth, chewing difficulties, neck pain, postural problems, tingling of the fingertips, hot and cold sensitivity of teeth, nervousness and insomnia.

The dentist will consider information obtained from a medical history and a physical examination of the teeth, head and neck. When indicated, he may conduct a series of tests using non-invasive electronic instruments. This data will indicate whether the bite is a major contributing factor to the problem.

If tests show that habitual bite is a probable cause of the condition or pain, the neuromuscular dentist then identifies a jaw position while the jaw muscles are in a relaxed state. This jaw position, and the corresponding new bite, is called neuromuscular occlusion. A non-invasive, non-surgical, non-medication approach to modern treatment often results in substantial gain in health in a relatively short amount of time in most individuals.

Navid Zamani, DMD, is the owner of Gilbert Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, located at 3611 E. Baseline Rd., Ste. 104, in Gilbert. He offers a complimentary exam and X-rays to new patients. Contact him at 480-497-2000 or DrZamani.com.

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