Could you be suffering from TMJ/TMD?


What is “TMJ” or “TMD”?

“TMJ”, although it has become almost a household word, it is a non-specific, catch-all term for a variety of pain/dysfunction conditions of the head and neck. It was originally derived from “Temporomandibular Joint”, your jaw joints – once thought to be the source of most of these ailments.

Today we know that there are many causes of head and neck problems that may or may not be related to the temporomandibular joint. For this reason, although not as widely familiar, most dentists use “TMD” (for Temporomandibular Dysfunction) to more accurately describe the condition.

Dr. Patel has advanced training in the treatment of TMJ/TMD and is one of two dentists in New Hampshire who specializes in the use of sophisticated computerized instrumentation to diagnose and treat this disorder. She has lectured to various medical organizations on the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ/TMD and has several articles published regarding the revolutionary treatment that she provides.

Some common signs and symptoms include painful clicking or popping of the jaw, various types of head and neck pain, swallowing problems, postural problems, excessive snoring, sleep apnea, ringing in the ears,dizziness, nervousness or insomnia, clenching or grinding, and sensitive teeth, to mention a few. If you are suffering from any of these symptoms you need to call our office today!

Dr. Patel will consider all of the information gathered by taking your history and doing a physical examination of your teeth, head and neck. When indicated, she may conduct a series of tests using non-invasive electronic instruments. If these tests show that your habitual bite is a probable cause of your condition or pain, she then identifies a jaw position determined by the relaxed state of the muscles. This jaw position and the corresponding new bite is called neuromuscular occlusion.

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Do you suffer from HEADACHES?


Dr. Patel has extensive post-graduate training in treating craniofacial pain disorders such as headaches and facial pain. She is a national and international lecturer on these subjects and speaks to medical and dental groups all over the country. Last year, she presented a lecture on headache disorders to medical groups at the International Association for Comprehensive Aesthetics symposium in Australia.

HEADACHES  are generally classified into several basic types: sinus, cluster, tension and migraine. You can determine which kind you have by discussing it with Dr. Patel. Improper occlusion (your bite) may play a significant role in certain types of headaches as well as other head and neck pain. Tension headache is by far the most common – estimated by some to be the cause of as much as 90% of all headaches. These headaches often originate in, or pain is referred to, the muscles of your forehead.

The muscles of the temple area of the forehead are muscles that play an important part in the posturing and closing of the jaw. If your occlusion (bite) is not right, it can lead to abnormal tension in these muscles – one of the several possible causes of tension type headaches.

If the bite is not corrected, the muscles may remain tense for long periods of time. The contracted muscle does not get a chance to rest and soon sufers from poor circulation – thus a lack of needed oxygen and the accumulation of waste products of metabolism. This can result in debilitating pain!

New technology now allows Dr. Patel to objectively evaluate the state of these muscles and various other factors that may be affecting your bite. Based on this and other information obtained from physical examination, Dr. Patel can rule in or out your bite as possible cause of headache pain with a high degree of confidence.

If the indications are that your bite is a major factor, Dr. Patel may recommend provisional or interim treatment. This involves fabrication of a custom made orthotic. An orthotic is an appliance that is worn over your teeth to adjust your bite to a correct relationship.

After having worn the provisional appliance for some time, both you and Dr. Patel will know for sure if the new bite position has resolved the headache problem. If it has, you will have several options open to you for long-term treatment. So, if YOU suffer from headaches….come talk to us!