Are You Grinding Your Teeth? Got TMJ?
If you are GRIDING YOUR TEETH and under a lot of stress or have arthritis, these all are absolutely putting additional strain on your chewing system. The onset of TMJ Syndrome can be influenced by a variety of factors. In some rare cases, TMD is caused by a traumatic event or accident that results in physical damage. The most common cause of TMJ is an unstable bite in which the teeth and/or jaw are not properly aligned.
What Is TMJ/TMD?
It may be helpful for you to have some additional background information on TMJ/TMD. TMD is a jaw and muscle condition which affects the whole body and materializes in the form of many different symptoms which seem unconnected. For this reason, it is not uncommon for TMJ to be misdiagnosed as something else.
TMD arises as the result of an issue with the joints located between the jaw and skull. These are the temporomandibular joints. These joints connect the jaw to the bones which are located on the sides of your face by your ears. They slide back and forth, allowing the jaw to move freely so that you can chew, swallow, and speak.
When these joints cease to function properly or are somehow damaged, a wide range of problems can occur. The affected individual may experience painful muscle spasms, nerve pain, headaches, back and neck pain, teeth grinding, and difficulty speaking, swallowing, or chewing. This experience is usually quite painful and frustrating because it’s difficult to find a doctor who’s familiar enough with the issue to treat it properly.
If you are reading this, you are likely looking for answers to why you may be grinding your teeth and have jaw and facial pain as a result of TMJ/TMD. I can help. Hello, I’m Dr. Mike Gallagher and I am passionately focused on TMJ/TMD treatment. TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) is a terrible affliction which affects the joint that connects your jaw bone to the temporal bones of your skull. Patients who have this condition usually suffer from a tremendous amount of pain and debilitating symptoms and have a hard time finding the right treatment.
After noticing a medical need for better TMJ treatment options in my community, I began dedicating my time and energy to researching and learning about this challenging condition. Over more than two decades, I’ve been able to successfully treat hundreds of patients who suffer from TMJ/TMD and witnessed first-hand the remarkable difference that the right treatment plan can make in someone’s life. Patients who once dealt with terrible jaw and face pain on a daily basis are able to find relief from their symptoms and experience a completely different quality of life.
My Journey in Working with TMJ/TMD
It began many years ago when I started coming across a lot of patients who were experiencing TMJ issues. After chatting with the patient, I would usually end up referring them to another medical office. The patients would eventually return and inform me of the treatment they were prescribed, which was usually nothing more than a bite splint and diet change. These treatment plans were ineffective at resolving the true cause of the problem and eventually their symptoms would return.
This was heartbreaking to watch. These people were in terrible pain and the treatment they were being given was simply inadequate. I felt that there had to be a better solution, so I began looking for answers.
Over the following years, I enrolled in numerous continuing education courses and spent thousands of hours learning about jaw joint and muscle disorders. These courses were taught by some of the most knowledgeable experts in the country. Since then, I’ve taken what I learned and applied it to my practice. The results have been nothing short of astounding.
We’ve seen patients go from experiencing constant pain to being pain-free, from experiencing stressful jaw problems to having stable and functioning TMJ’s. It has been a truly amazing experience and more rewarding than I ever imagined.
When I think of all the patient’s I’ve had the privilege to work with over the years, there’s one patient’s story in particular that stands out to me. This patient was able to experience an incredible transformation and after almost three years of unbearable pain, restricted breathing, difficulty swallowing, and tingling in the arms and torso, was finally able to find relief and return to living a normal, healthy life.
Below, I’ve shared the details of my experience in working with this patient and the remarkable story of how he made a full recovery with the right treatment.
TMJ Patient Success Story: A Remarkable Transformation
I first met Glenn Bellman in 2018. He had been to twelve different doctors before coming to visit my office. None of them were able to help him. During his visit, we had a conversation about what was going on with him. The more I learned about his condition, the more it became clear to me that he was dealing with a case of TMJ/TMD.
As Glenn explained his symptoms, and everything he had been through over the last two years, I could hear the hopeless in his voice. He was obviously going through a challenging time and it sounded like nothing any of the other doctors had done was making any difference.
Glenn had consulted with his general physician, dentist, a periodontist, a psychologist, an acupuncturist, a neurologist, a chiropractor, and a handful of other professionals. Everything from pharmaceuticals and chiropractic adjustments to CBD oil and hypnosis had been prescribed and Glenn wasn’t getting any better.
A Unique Case of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
In many ways, Glenn’s case was classic TMJ, but in others it was unique. This is because TMJ affects everyone differently. Glenn was experiencing many of the symptoms that are common among individuals who have TMD. He felt constant pain on the left side of his face near his jaw. As his condition worsened, the pain grew and began to radiate from his left ear all the way down to his lower neck. At times, he felt tingling sensations in his left forearm, torso, and face.
However, Glenn didn’t have some of the typical signs of TMJ. He didn’t hear any clicking or popping noises near his jaw. His doctors seemed to think that his jaw functioned correctly. For these reasons, they told him that he wasn’t a good candidate for surgery.
Then, one day the pain moved down his neck to around his throat and he began experiencing difficulty breathing and swallowing. He couldn’t sleep and despite all the medication he was taking, he was in constant pain. This was the breaking point which prompted his visit to my office.
I spent the next two days after Glenn’s appointment reviewing his case. I considered his situation carefully and decided he was a good candidate for bite splint therapy. I called him back and invited him to my office so we could discuss next steps for treatment.
Glenn’s TMJ Treatment & Progress
We began Glenn’s TMJ treatment by first making an impression of his teeth and mounting up his bite in a very precise, deliberate manner. Then, a bite splint was crafted to make the jaw come together properly. Over time, the splint would allow the TMJ to move back into its proper position so the jaw could resume normal functionality.
We decided that Glenn would come into the office once or twice a week for splint adjustments. This way, I could measure his bite and file the splint in order to get the jaw moving properly.
In just weeks, considerable progress was made. We continued the treatment over the months that followed. The transformation was incredible. The bite splint was working and the TMJ was became more stabilized and regaining functionality.
Once the treatment was complete, it became clear that further steps needed to be taken in order to eliminate the teeth grinding and clenching that Glenn was experiencing. I recommended a six-month treatment of Invisalign. This would allow the upper teeth to fit properly over the bottom teeth, which would resolve the remaining symptoms.
A Successful TMJ Recovery
Six months later, Glenn’s smile was restored. He was no longer experiencing the terrible facial pain, neck pain, and restricted breathing that drove him to book his first appointment. The tingling in his arms, torso, head, and face had also disappeared.
During our last appointment, Glenn seemed like a new person. He laughed and smiled a lot and seemed genuinely at ease.
Glenn and his wife now live in Connecticut, but he continues to remain a dear friend. And his recovery plays a major role in my work today. I have seen the miraculous difference time-after-time that the right treatment can make for someone’s health and happiness. It is my hope that my team and I can continue shaping lives and transforming them in this positive way.
Get Help with Your TMJ Disorder
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms that you believe may be related to TMJ Disorder, please reach out for help as soon as possible. I would be happy to provide a complimentary consultation to meet with you and discuss your concerns in detail. I believe that by working together, we can find a solution to the issues you are experiencing and help you get back on track with your health and enjoying life again!
Contact Us Today!
Dr. Michael Gallagher and our Eden Prairie Dentistry team are committed to providing exceptional care and empowering our patients with information about their dental health. Please take advantage of Dr. Michael Gallagher’s offer for a free consultation regarding how we can help you. If you have any questions about our services or would like to schedule an appointment, we invite you to give us a call at 952-942-9600 for a complimentary consultation. The outstanding experience of our dental team, Dr. Gallagher, and the skills of our staff have helped us in successfully treating our patient’s oral problems. We welcome patients throughout Eden Prairie, Chanhassen, Bloomington, Minnetonka, Edina, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Burnsville, Plymouth, Eagan, Richfield and surrounding areas. For more information regarding TMJ pain relief techniques, please contact us!