Jaw pain, migraines and many other aliments may be a result of an auto accident accident. Dr. Marnie Bauer and Attorney Edward Reyes explains why.
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Below is the full transcript of our interview.
Edward: Hey, good afternoon. This is Edward Reyes, as your personal injury attorney. Today, I have a special guest. Dr. Marnie Bauer. She’s a dentist here in South Tampa. She is going to talk to us about some issues that come up whenever people are involved in an auto accident. She’s a specialist when it comes to TMJ disorder and other things as well. So, please introduce yourself.
Dr. Bauer: Hi guys. I’m Dr. Marnie Bauer and I have a cosmetic and family practice here in South Tampa. I’m here to answer some questions of Eddie’s to educate you all.
Edward: As you guys know, whenever people are involved in auto accidents, tons of different things are going on. We’re going to cover TMJ’s specifically today. Please elaborate, what exactly is TMJ?
Dr. Bauer: Okay. I will say that first and foremost TMJ is a very gray zone in dentistry. It is very difficult to diagnose. I’m going to use this skull actually to show you what TMJ is and explain to you about what the syndrome is.
Dr. Bauer: The joint is actually between the jaw bone and the skull. The joint here lubricates the muscles and the bones so that when you open and close, everything can hinge healthy. Whenever there is trauma caused to this by a car accident.
Edward: Slip and falls. Exactly.
Dr. Bauer: Or a fall. Yes. This jawbone can become dislocated like this. Also, this is a really good view too, to use this. This yellow joint here then can become displaced when there’s trauma. That can be very, very painful. Very painful. It’s very difficult to diagnose.
Edward: What type of pain, because TMJ … Thank you for the great model and showcase.
Dr. Bauer: I knew you would like that.
Edward: I do. I do. Thank you. What type of pain does somebody actually feel whenever … What should they be looking out for?
Dr. Bauer: Okay. First of all, there’s a few things. There’s tinnitus, which is ringing of the ears. Some people think that they may have an earache.
Edward: I didn’t know that.
Dr. Bauer: Yeah.
Edward: Cool. Thank you.
Dr. Bauer: That’s tricky. The go to their ENT and they think that something’s wrong with their ear, but it’s actually the joint space. Their muscles can be so tense that their whole face, patients complain that their whole face is in pain. They can’t really pinpoint the area, but their whole jaw is sore. Some other pain can be headaches, migraines. These can trigger migraines.
Dr. Bauer: Again, the joint system is very delicate and complex. Whenever the muscles are involved and they’re constricted, it can cause a lot of different types of pain.
Edward: Explain to me this. So, most auto accidents, not all of them, but a lot of them, they get rear-ended from behind. It causes more of a whipping action, like whiplash.
Dr. Bauer: Right.
Edward: What would cause the jaw to actually move? Is it the force? Tell me.
Dr. Bauer: Okay. So, let’s think about this for a second. When we are in different positions, even when we are sitting straight up, everything is muscled and our muscles are balanced. Even if you’re just looking down, and a lot of people that work looking down, either being surgeons, or dentists, or dental hygienists, or people that do a lot of computer work, even if you tilt your head and relax it, you can notice that the muscles relax and your whole mandible moves forward. Okay. So, when you have that trauma and you’re hit from behind, it’s the muscles that are moving and become so loose and jarred that it dislocates this whole joint here. So, this kind of position happens and occurs. It will not slide back. So, you’ve got this imbalance if you will. You’ve got muscles constricting and contracting here and muscles pulling here. Until those muscles relax, the mandible will not fall back into its eminence.
Edward: It’s kind of like a reflex action. So, what you’re saying is that when driving, your jaw is a little bit loose and then when it happens, it tightens up I would imagine. Like a muscle for example, when you’re working out and then it contracts and that’s when you have the pain.
Dr. Bauer: Yes. It’s a hinge.
Dr. Bauer: Okay. So, the joint is a hinge access joint. It’s very complicated. The only thing keeping it attached to the skull are the muscles.
Dr. Bauer: If you’ve got that jarring impact, your muscles are relaxed. Everything moves and causes the bones to move with it.
Edward: Doctor, tell me, what are the common treatments for TMJ disorder? When somebody comes to you with pain, what’s the next step? What happens next?
Dr. Bauer: Okay. Remember in the beginning I was telling you, it’s very difficult to diagnose TMJ.
Dr. Bauer: So, we do a couple different things. We can do some digital imaging, a CT-scan is ideal honestly.
Dr. Bauer: That’s my favorite. Muscle palpation.
Dr. Bauer: Palpating muscles that are intra-oral and extra-oral. Actually, if you look at a patient and you see their posture and their gait, you can look at their shoulder height. You can see if their skeleton is off.
Dr. Bauer: Between muscle palpation, the patient’s description, digital imaging, we typically can get a really good idea if it’s a true TMD or TMJ disorder.
Edward: Now, doctor, I know you do TMJ disorder, but for everybody, and I know recording on both videos, for everybody on Facebook, tell us more about your actual practice. That way, if somebody wanted to contact you and talk to you more about it.
Dr. Bauer: Sure. Sure. For my particular practice, the biggest risk factor for us is stress.
Dr. Bauer: And malalignment, because the stress causes people to clench and grind their teeth to wear them down, and to shorten the muscles, and constrict the muscles. Then, when your teeth are not aligned, your muscles are not balanced.
Dr. Bauer: So, by aligning your teeth, it relaxes the muscles, hence relaxing the joint area. Many patients get relief with that. I do want to tell you and show you this. We were talking about some treatment and this is very, very common. I would probably say about 50% to 60% of our patients in this practice wear a night guard or an occlusal splint. What this does is it sends messages to your brain that your teeth are aligned. It releases those muscles and relaxes.
Edward: Oh, okay.
Dr. Bauer: So, it’s very therapeutic. For patients that do clench and grind, because they’re under stress, they’re grinding on plastic and not their teeth.
Edward: Would that reduce headaches? I would imagine the tension would bring on headaches.
Dr. Bauer: It does.
Edward: So, that reduces headaches?
Dr. Bauer: It does. It does, Eddie. Patients that sleep with this and they love it. It’s almost like a pacifier because it’s relieving the muscle stress and strain.
Dr. Bauer: Yes.
Edward: What do you do in your practice, besides clearly TMJ? Is there anything in particular, beside even what we’re talking about today, if you had to give somebody 30 seconds on what you do in your practice, I know you do cosmetic dentistry and things like that.
Dr. Bauer: We do. We do. Believe it or not, we have a strong backing with the TMD. We really like to diagnose the complete patient.
Dr. Bauer: Not just tooth by tooth. A lot of patients need their teeth aligned to prevent degradation. So, we’re doing a lot of Invisalign. We’re doing a lot of veneers. We’re doing what we call full mouth restorations or equilibrations, which have to do all about balance. There’s a lot of balancing of the bite.
Edward: Which is great, because not only do I have sometimes clients that have TMJ disorders, they also have chipped teeth. Because of the impact, sometimes they hit the steering wheels. Sometimes the airbags come out and it kind of messes up their face sometimes.
Dr. Bauer: Yes.
Edward: I imagine those are things that can also dovetail into what you offer as well? Correct?
Dr. Bauer: You’re right. Yes. Yes.
Edward: I hope you guys found it interesting. We’ll continue doing more educational series. I thank you very much for your time.
Dr. Bauer: Thank Eddie. Thanks.
Edward: Feel free to send us messages, comments. I’ll put her contact information below, that way if you have any questions or if you need a dentist here in South Tampa, she’ll be more than happy to talk to you and go forward from there. So, you guys have a good day.