When People say, “I have TMJ”, most of us know that they are referring to pain or a problem with their jaw, but what is TMJ and how is it treated? TMJ is actually an abbreviation for a joint called the temporomandibular joint. The TMJ’s are the joints that connect the lower jaw (Mandible) to the skull. They are very important joints in the body because they are active in chewing, talking, swallowing, and any other motion involving the mouth and face. TMD (Temporomandibular Dysfunction) or the more complete term CMD (Craniomandibular Dysfunction) is a problem effecting millions of people. TMD has been referred to as the “Great Imposter” because it’s symptoms mimic and parallel so many other diseases. The three main areas that we look at when evaluating chronic pain or jaw pain patients, are the bite, plane of occlusion, and the jaw joints. The bite is the way that the teeth come together, often called the occlusion. The plane of occlusion is the imaginary surface made by the teeth when they come together. If the Occlusion or plane of occlusion is misaligned or off any even a slight degree, it can cause a number of painful symptoms. The symptoms of CMD may include but are not limited to: pain in the face, neck, or back, migraine or generalized headaches, eye problems, sinus trouble, hearing loss, earaches, clogging or ringing in the ears, visual and motor incoordination, learning disability, low energy level, any pain or joint noises in the jaw area, difficulty swallowing, dental distress, bruxism, tingling or numbness in the arms, hands or fingers, and a myriad of problems dealing with the spine and structure. The number of different symptoms related to TMJ makes diagnosing and treating the disease very difficult. Most patients have visited a number of other physicians to treat their symptoms but only consider seeing a dental TMJ specialist if they have specific mouth or jaw issues. Unfortunately for these patient, they are receiving temporary relief until they address the underlying causes of the symptoms.

When patients have Malocclusion or a “bad bite”, it usually stems from a malformation, degradation, or displacement of the TMJ’s. Misaligned bites will cause misalignments in other areas of the body, such as the spine, shoulders, hips, and ankles. The body’s effort to compensate for a misalignment in the cranium, causes misalignments elsewhere and puts a great deal of stress on the muscles of the face, head, neck and back. For this reason, many patients start with a chiropractor to straighten them out. The problem is that everything stems from the top and most chiropractors work from the neck down. It is like stacking bricks on top of each other in line, with the top brick off to one side. The entire stack is going to topple every time unless that top brick is in line. At The Bell Center, we take a multidisciplinary approach to treatment. We begin by getting a detailed oral-facial-head-neck-pain-history and then a clinical history. At the end of the consultation it is generally determined if there is sufficient evidence to indicate if the bite position and jaw position are effecting the specific pain or symptom. Full Body testing, and looking at the entire structure and not just the area of pain or symptom, tells us a great deal about how we may approach treatment. Once the cause of misalignment is discovered, treatment plans can be specifically designed to meet the physiological, structural, and psychological needs of the patient.

CMD is a very complex problem that takes a well- trained clinician to recognize, diagnose, and treat. If you or any one you know suffers from any of the above symptoms and has not found relief from a chiropractor, dentist, or medical doctor, call the Bell Center today!

TMD Screening Consultation

This site is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. Through this site and linkages to other sites, The Bell Center provides general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this site, or through linkages to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider. The Bell Center and Dr. Bell is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this site.

Dr. Michael D. Bell

8068 West Sahara Ave Suite A
Las Vegas, NV 89117
702-256-7666