TMJ causes, problems, disorders, inflammation, diagnosis, diagram, code, diagnostics, how is tmj diagnosed, tmj test, testing, information, TMD TMJ treatment, tmj doctor
Disclaimer: This preliminary ‘Self Test’ will help you understand the symptoms of a TMJ disorder.
A neuromuscular final diagnosis is required by a qualified dentist.
Chronic strain and stress gets tougher on your body as you age
It may take decades before you are aware of a TMJ disorder. Many of the signs and symptoms of TMJ problems do not cause pain. You may be unaware of the destruction that is happening with your jaw joints, your teeth, and your spine. As you age, your ability to cope with this damage, with this constant stress and strain will be diminished. By then, the outcome of treatment may be compromised. The lesson is early diagnosis and treatment of any TMJ Disorders.
PAIN – is a significant – but NOT THE ONLY SIGNAL for TMJ dysfunction. Years of poor posture, wearing teeth, damage to jaw joints, neck vertebrae, loss of the bone and gum tissue around the roots of your teeth, are often slow processes of destruction without severe pain or other problems in an early stage.
If you knew that your current TMD symptoms will lead to future bigger issues, doesn’t it make sense to take action NOW?
These are the facts:
WAIT and it’s going to hurt more
WAIT longer and it will be more expensive
WAIT even longer and it will potentially damage your life
Think you might have TMJ Dysfunction symptoms?
Test yourself below.
Here are some easy TMJ Tests
Right here, right now
- Stand in front of a mirror (or have someone ready to take a photo of you standing in front of a wall
- Stand with your feet ‘shoulder width’ apart
- Close your eyes and turn your head left and right as far as you can go, look up then down as far as you can go then open your eyes and look in the mirror or have someone take a photo
- Look at the level of your shoulders. Are they even or is one lower than the other. If one shoulder is lower, even by a little, look how your neck will be off level to help compensate for your shoulders uneven positions.
- Look at your head position. You will see that it is tilted in order to bring your eyes level with the world. We cannot walk around the world with our eyes and more importantly our ears off level. Our eyes give us visual reference but our ears give us balance through our inner ears which contain the organs of balance. Disrupt those and you are dizzy.
- Look at how your head is rotated vertically off of center. When your head is tipped you will also turn your head left or right to bring it into a more centered position.
Remember that all of these movements require muscle activity. This constant uneven muscle strain on your head and neck and strain on your neck vertebrae add up over your lifetime creating a situation for pain and or damage.
(Tip: This test is harder to do in the mirror but easier and more accurate if someone takes a side photo of you standing.)
- Repeat the stance as mentioned above and allow yourself to take a normal relaxed posture.
- Have the photo include your hips to the top of your head. If you have long hair, pull it back behind your ears.
- Wear fairly tight clothing so you can better visualize your posture.
You should be able to draw and imaginary line up from the center of your arch, through your hip, through your shoulder and up through the ear canal. This is a balance postural stance.
Often we see that the head is actually more forward of the neck. This forward head position (FHP) creates strain and imbalance all the way down to your feet. To balance off the FHP your back has more curve, your stomach sticks forward and your butt sticks out. The effect is a double “S” curve to your shoulders, back and hips.
FHP was commonly called “Dowagers Hump” in old England. That is because there is a build up of muscle and connective tissue at the base of the neck required to hold the head in this forward position. Heads weigh between 8 to 16 pounds. Holding that weight forward of it’s natural position over the shoulders effectively increases the heads weight 3 times as much.
FHP can also create changes in the neck (Cervical) vertebrae and the disks between the vertebrae causing irreversible harm. Limited mobility due to skeletal or muscle changes is often the result.
Watching in the mirror, try to touch your right ear to your right shoulder.
Repeat in the other direction.
Now try to turn your head so your chin is pointing to the right and then the left.
If you have stiffness or pain, your bite may be to blame.
Limited mobility is often a sign of muscle tension that occurs with an unbalanced bite.
The same applies with looking up to the ceiling or down to your toes.
Stiffness in the head and neck muscles mean that you may have a chronic condition that is very much bite related.
Opening the mouth
You should be able to open more than 40 mm if you measure from the tips of the upper teeth to the tips of the lower teeth. Another way to measure this is with your fingers. If you can fit 3 or more fingers between your teeth, then this is normal. If, however you can only fit 2 fingers, your jaws mobility has been affected.
Short upper jaw
Look at your face. That cute up-turned nose may be a consequence of an under developed upper jaw. Most adults do not show their nostrils when you look face on. But an under developed upper jaw can mean the nose has not grown to it’s ideal position. This does not mean you are not attractive. Quite the contrary. It is often a marker for youth. But it may mean your bite is not balanced due to the subsequent position of the upper teeth.
Short lower jaw
If you were to look at the profile photo of your teeth, your lips and chin should form a line of 5 degrees or less off of vertical from your nose. If this angle is greater then your lower jaw is too short. This has many consequences that include muscle tension, head posture and even your breathing or airway. A Chinese proverb says that a man with a short jaw will die early. This is a profound way of saying that there are many sins to your body from having a bad bite. More than a weak chin or a deep overbite. Sins that mean your longevity can be effected due to Sleep Apnea.
In a healthy mouth, an overbite of 10% of the upper teeth over the lower teeth is natural. Anything more than that increases the likely hood that your bite is unhealthy. Deep overbites mean the lower jaw must stay back from a more natural position so that the upper and lower teeth can mesh together. This is most often caused by the upper dental arch being too narrow for the lower dental arch being able to fit where it is most natural and comfortable. This overbite is a sign of a problem.
Overbites not only create muscle tension but also compress the jaw joint into an unhealthy position. Some of the most advanced jaw joint erosion and disease is in patients with a deep overbite.
Teeth wear not from eating or chewing but from grinding and clenching. Grinding is the bodies way of trying to eliminate an interference in the bite. If your teeth mesh together in a position where the jaw muscles or jaw joints are strained your natural reaction may be to grind to a more comfortable position. Unfortunately, in my experience, this is rarely a stable position.
This means you grind back to where the teeth mesh the most. Unfortunately, this is a strained position so you grind to where the muscles and jaws feel better. Unfortunately this is an unstable position so you grind back to where the teeth mesh together the most. Unfortunately … you get the idea. You grind back and forth till your teeth become worn and chipped. It is no different than having a rock in the tread of your running shoes. You always feel it and it is not long before you stop and pluck it out so you can walk without the rock causing a problem.
Unfortunately your teeth are not that easy to “Pluck Out” so your uneven bite creates a grinding problem that damages your teeth.
Your balance, flexibility and potential strength all change when the unstable bite is unravelled with something as biting on a thin plastic pen.
This demonstrates that a clenched bite requires recruitment of not only the jaw muscles but the muscles of the head, neck and back to help bring the teeth together.
This is a simple way of saying that “Yes, something is wrong or not ideal. Let’s find out what it is.”
For flexibility, have the person try to touch their toes with and without a pen between their teeth.
With the pen they should be able to bend further.
Use the Trigger Point images to palpate muscles on the cheek (Masseaters) and on the temple (Temporalis) to see if there are trigger points.
You have to push hard and roll your finger or thumb around to find the knot in the muscle. If it is there then there are issues.
Rate all muscles on a scale of 1 to 3
To make communication more accurate we have simplified the Tenderness Scale:
1 = no pain, just pressure
2 = Ouch, that hurts.
3 = You back away quickly from applying pressure, because it hurts so much
A healthy muscle system has all 1’s or 1.5’s
2’s and 3’s indicate muscle strain and bite related problems
(Muscle trigger points are hard to do on one’s self. We tend to wimp out to avoid pain!)
Upper front teeth are typically 10.0 mm to 11.5 mm long from the edge to where the white enamel meets the yellower root surface. (That is usually the gum line unless there has been gum recession on the tooth and the tooth looks longer than it is due to the recession of gum and bone from the root.)
If your big front tooth is shorter than 9 mm, you are wearing past where a tooth would be reduced to create a veneer or porcelain crown for that tooth. In other words, a tooth only 8 mm long has be broken and worn past what any dentist would do to make it properly restored. Any shorter than 8 mm means the end result is compromised when the tooth is restored.
The lower front teeth are usually around 7.0 mm to 9 mm long. Again, this is tip of tooth to where the root starts. If the tooth is worn shorter than that then again, the tooth is severely damaged. Wear on lower front teeth is more severe as these are tiny teeth to begin with and a loss of tooth structure is very compromising to a proper restoration of the teeth.
This is a measurement developed by Dr. Hank Shimbashi from Edmonton. Working on a University project to determine proper facial heights and the position of upper and lower teeth while the patient is biting on their back teeth, he found a direct connection between the distance of the gum tissue from the upper teeth to the lower teeth. This relationship became known as the “Golden Proportion” for your healthy bite.
Normal healthy bites have a distance from 17 to 21 mm. This can be narrowed by determining the width of an upper front tooth (or Central Incisor). The wider the Central Incisor the greater the Shimbashi number.
This Shimbashi number gives us a guide as to where a comfort zone for your bite may be. Although it is not the only factor it does help to distinguish obvious over-closed bites.
For more information please visit the following website: www.beautyanalysis.com
When the lower teeth are further out than the upper teeth this is a dental crossbite.
This can be found on back teeth or front teeth, on one side or both sides.
Sometimes it is only one tooth that is the culprit.
This is when your bring the front teeth on top edge to edge with the front teeth on the bottom. Is there a place where they form a tight fitting match. This is because you have worn the front teeth together by grinding over and over and have made a match between the upper and lower front teeth. The importance of this is it only happens when the bite on the back teeth are strained and the jaw muscles and joints want you to move forward from that strained position.
You slide your lower jaw forward on the backs of your upper teeth till they touch tip to tip. Unfortunately this is not a very stable position, even if it is more relaxed so you go back to making the back teeth touch (the overbite position) but this is strained so you slide forward and get relief but there is no stability there so you go back. Same as the wearing of front teeth due to a bad uncomfortable bite.