Dental Discomfort

Health Matters Q&A” with Sherman Mills chiropractor Dr. Ron Merriel. This installment: a pain in the jaw.

Hi Doc!
I have a lot of pain on one side of my jaw. I have been to the dentist and she told me that I have TMJ disorder.

It hurts, gets stiff and sometimes clicks. Is this something that a chiropractor can help with? I heard that they can adjust all sorts of joints in the body.
– Sylvia T.

Hi Sylvia,
First off, so sorry to hear you’re in pain. Fortunately TMJ (Temperomandibular Joint Disorder) is a very common condition that chiropractors are able to treat.

As with any non-life-threatening health condition, it is always best to treat it conservatively first and one of the most conservative therapies is chiropractic.

After assessing the severity of the TMJ, I’d address the muscles of the jaw by using one of several muscle-releasing techniques, because the muscles are almost always involved with this condition. These techniques are designed to break up any small adhesions (scar tissue) due to muscle strain which could be caused by the constant clenching of the jaw or consistently chewing on only one side of the mouth.

When adjusting the TMJ, I always like to address both sides of the jaw. The adjustment can be performed manually or with an instrument.

It is always good to check the spine for subluxations (improper function of a vertebrae which causes spinal nerve interference), as an adjustment of the upper cervical spine will help to restore proper nerve function to the TMJ.

Usually some improvement is noticeable right after the first treatment, but it may take several treatments to get the TMJ to start functioning properly.

If TMJ hasn’t started due to trauma, such as with an auto accident (since this could cause enough force to damage the TMJ especially if the jaw was not closed at the time of impact), you will have to address the cause of this disorder.

This preventative measure may be determined through a collaboration with your chiropractor and dentist.

I hope that this helps you determine your next course of action, Sylvia.

Yours in health,
Ron Merriel, D.C.
Blue Skies Chiropractic
3502 Scotts Lane Building 1 Suite A-13
Philadelphia 19129

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