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TMJ & Jaw Dysfunction

TMJ and jaw dynamics, assessment, and treatment are poorly understood and, contrary to popular belief, are not taught in either dental school or chiropractic school! Dr. Scoppa has combined knowledge from a number of dental and non-dental inspirations, and regularly works alongside dentists in complicated cases. Many areas of the body affect the way your teeth come together and the way your jaw sits, so it's important to have these assessed alongside the TMJ itself. Holistic care is much more successful than addressing the TMJ in a vacuum. Dr. Scoppa is the only non-dentist in the Seattle area that regularly works with TMJ patients, who comprise around 75% of his practice.

TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint, and pain or issues caused as a result of TMJ dysfunction is called TMD (temporomandibular joint disorders). These can be wide ranging and include headaches, neck and upper back pain, tinnitus, jaw pain, back pain, etc. 

The jaw itself is a complicated joint, with the jaw bone sitting in a disc on each side of the face directly in front of the ear canal. The jaw bone itself is connected into the cranium at the temporal bone (located on the side of your head).

Jaw issues can develop for many reasons, and rarely is there is a single cause of jaw pain or dysfunction.


Some common suspects include: 

  • Hormonal issues

  • High stress

  • Leg length inequalities

  • Sacrum and pelvic imbalances

  • Upper cervical tension

  • Grinding/Clenching

  • Hypermobility in the jaw or generally in the body

  • Compaction of the jaw bone (degeneration of mandibular head)

  • Disc derangement (jaw bone slips off the jaw disc)

  • Malocclusion (issues with the way the teeth fit together)

  • Braces or Night Guards that don't fit well or are moving teeth/bone the wrong way

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