Understanding Orofacial Pain

The vast majority of TMD is related to the facial musculature. In this case, the source of “TMJ pain” is related to how your facial muscles are reacting to teeth that are not in proper position. This is important – Teeth affect muscles, muscles affect TMJ. The reverse is also true – TMJ affects muscles, muscles affect teeth.

So what does this have to do with my popping/clicking TMJ?What does this have to do with my constant headaches? What does this have to do with my worn/chipping teeth?

Chances are when Dr. Bisson places your TMJ in its most comfortable position (Centric Relation) and you close your teeth together, your first tooth contact will likely only be on one tooth (probably somewhere at the back). This point of contact is interfering with your teeth fitting together fully. Ideally, when your joint is in it’s most comfortable position, ALL your teeth should touch at the same time. So, in order for you to get all your teeth to touch, your TMJ must displace from it’s most comfortable position. When this happens, your muscles which are responsible for opening and closing your mouth are no longer “firing” in a coordinated fashion. Muscles that are supposed to be relaxed when you close your jaw are now contracted. This constant inco-ordinated muscle activity is responsible for making your TMJ “click or pop”. It is also responsible for your frequent headaches and the vast majority of “TMJ pain”.

Your muscles can’t perfectly bring your teeth together when your TMJ is not in it’s proper position. As a result, your back teeth that are interfering often end up breaking. Or you may also start to notice your front teeth chipping. This is a result of your jaw posturing forward in order to avoid the interfering back teeth. As a result, your front teeth take a beating.