As seen in Diablo and Valley Lifestyle Magazines
Sean Michael Anderson, D.D.S
1501 Bollinger Canyon Rd. Ste G
San Ramon, CA 94583
Neck and Shoulder Pain
San Ramon, Pleasanton, Walnut Creek and Diablo, CA
Why would the neck and shoulders be affected by a problem in the jaw joint? Studying this is part of what neuromuscular dentistry is about. All the structures in the area are connected, including the teeth. Large nerves run through the area of the temples and jaw joints, and branches of these nerves run down through the neck and into the shoulders.
If the jaw joint is damaged, many structures connected with it will eventually be affected. We move the jaw joints so often, for chewing, talking, and laughing every day, and if those jaw movements are out of alignment each and every time they occur, it’s not surprising if the area becomes inflamed and sensitive. The trigeminal nerve runs from the spine, below each ear, and branches out to spread through the entire head, face, and jaw area. There are other large nerves in these areas too. Inflammation and swelling put pressure on them, so we feel pain not just in the jaw itself, but wherever those nerve branches run.
Dealing with the pain
Consulting a neuromuscular dentist is a smart move if you’re feeling any of this pain day after day. If the cause turns out to be TMD, help will be on the way.
In the meantime, there are some things you can do to minimize the pain.
- Ice packs help to reduce pain by reducing the swelling and pressure on the nerves. You could use an ice pack several times a day, or even each hour if the pain is severe.
- Avoid chewy or crunchy foods like apples, nuts, corn on the cob, steak and caramels. Don’t chew gum or ice, or your fingernails. Keeping jaw movements to a minimum will help reduce pain.
- When you aren’t using your jaws, notice what their position is. Are your teeth clenched together? The best resting jaw position is with the lips closed but the teeth a little apart.
- Invest in an orthopedic pillow. They support the neck and help minimize neck and shoulder pain. You can get some of the same effect by using a rolled-up towel under your neck. Avoid using a high firm pillow that keeps your head in the wrong position.
"I found Dr. Anderson to be extremely passionate, skilled and knowledgeable and would recommend him to any of my family members or closest friends." - Brian Middleton
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Tingling and numbness in the arms and hands
In dealing with TMD and its symptoms, it’s sometimes hard to distinguish causes from symptoms. For instance, teeth clenching or grinding can be a response to a misaligned bite, and also, over time, a cause of one. When you clench or grind for long enough, the teeth can become worn down and may be slowly pushed out of alignment.
Whether it’s a cause or an effect, teeth clenching and grinding creates tension in the muscles that do the clenching and grinding. Over time, that tension builds up and the muscles can go into spasm. If that happens, they can pinch the nerves nearby. When the nerves are pinched that run down the arms and into the fingers, it causes tingling and/or numbness.
An experienced neuromuscular dentist can examine your jaws and teeth and determine whether there’s a misalignment of the bite.
The neck and shoulders are directly connected to the muscles and nerves of the jaw area. If you have chronic neck and shoulder pain, please contact us for an initial consultation. Dr. Anderson will be glad to listen to your concerns, and answer questions, and together you can determine what might be the best step to take next.
- TMD Symptoms
- Headaches (migraines)
- Jaw pain, popping sounds and limited movement
- Facial pain, sore teeth, and ringing in the ears
- Depression and fatigue
If you have facial pain that continues, and you’re finding that taking painkillers for it is insufficient, please contact us for an initial consultation. Dr. Anderson will be glad to listen to your concerns, and answer questions, and together you can determine what might be the best step to take next.
Sean Michael Anderson, D.D.S
Neuromuscular & Aesthetic Cosmetic Dentistry
Disclaimer: San Ramon Dentist Dr. Sean Anderson's website only provides information on neuromuscular dentistry, and neck and shoulder pain in Alamo, Danville, Diablo, Pleasanton , Walnut Creek
and the San Ramon area south of San Francisco. This information is not to be taken as medical advice.
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