We support healthy, beautiful smiles and relief from chronic migraines and other symptoms of TMJ problems.

If you want relief from migraines, persistent earaches, and neck, shoulder, and back pain, look no further than VanderLaan Family Dentistry in Byron Center, Michigan. While it may seem curious at first blush to turn to a dentist’s office for therapy to relieve pain that seemingly has nothing to do with the mouth, these complaints are common signs of TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder or dysfunction). 

About TMJDs

TMJ refers to a part of your anatomy, specifically, the temporomandibular joint or hinge that connects the jawbone to the skull. TMJD or TMD refers to the actual condition associated with these joints. In addition to the symptoms noted above, Dr. Matthew VanderLaan may suspect TMJD if he notices the following red flags for the condition during a routine evaluation:

  • Jaw stiffness or immobility 
  • Problems opening and closing the mouth easily and painlessly
  • A noisy jaw or popping and clicking sounds when moving the mouth 
  • Chronic bruxism or teeth-grinding 
  • Excessive wear and tear to dental work and natural teeth; for instance, chips and cracks
  • Imbalances with how the opposing teeth in the upper and lower jaws come together when you bite down

The nature and extent of symptoms varies from person to person. Without treatment, formerly minor annoyances can turn into debilitating problems. So, we encourage you to contact us if you suspect that TMJD is to blame for pain, damage to your teeth, and other issues. 

Multi-faceted treatment 

Just as there are many symptoms, there are also many potential sources of TMJDs. Really, any time the joints and their interrelated tissues and structures are stressed, you may be at risk of developing TMJ symptoms. Risk factors range from persistent chewing of gum to behaviors like bruxism and conditions like misaligned teeth and “bites.” Accurate diagnoses inform the development of a treatment plan or approach that eases your symptoms in the short term and resolves the underlying problem over a long time for real treatment. Depending on your needs, we may recommend simple lifestyle changes. Or, we can customize a specialized oral appliance. This appliance may relieve the pressure on your teeth and jaws from conditions like bruxism. If orthodontic problems are to blame, we may discuss discreet and comfortable treatment options such as clear aligner therapy.

VanderLaan Family Dentistry keeps your smile healthy and looking great and also supports the health of your whole self. Call (616) 288-2554 to schedule a consultation with Dr. VanderLaan at our office in Byron Center, MI, today.