Caring for Face Pain and Sleep Apnea
Rich Hirschinger, DDS, MBA
Diplomate American Board of Orofacial Pain
9615 Brighton Way, Suite 323
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
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What is TMJ?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. It is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull, and it is very unique compared to the other major joints in the human body such as the knee, hip, elbow, and shoulder. The knee and the elbow are hinge joints, meaning they move just like a door hinge. The shoulder and hip have rotational movement to them. The temporomandibular joint is unique in a couple of ways. First, you have to move both joints at the same time and cannot choose to only move one joint. Also, the initial movement of the TMJ is a hinge movement, and that is followed by a translational movement where the jaw comes out of the area where it usually is so it is like an intentional dislocation. There are many dentists who claim they are TMJ specialists but Dr. Hirschinger is only one of a few hundred doctors in the United States who can legally claim he is a specialist. He completed a two-year full time residency in orofacial pain and dental sleep medicine at UCLA in Los Angeles, and he is Board certified by the American Board of Orofacial Pain, both of which are required to claim one is a specialist. What also makes Dr. Hirschinger unique is that he does not consider treating teeth or changing a patient's bite, like a neuromuscular dentist would, in order to reduce and/or eliminate a patient's complaint of TMJ pain. 

Please click here to learn more about the types of TMJ treatment Dr. Hirschinger provides at his private practice in Beverly Hills, California.

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What Causes Muscle Pain?

Muscle pain in the head and neck can be caused by several factors such a clenching and grinding teeth at night as well as during the day, it can be caused by other repetitive behaviors such as texting, chewing gum, biting fingernails, tipping your head forward when using a computer at home or work, it can be caused by stress, etc. Essentially, if you overuse a muscle, and the muscle gets sore, it will get your attention by causing pain to try to get you to stop the behavior that is causing the pain. The problem when it comes to the jaw and the neck, is that humans need to chew food and we need to move our necks to turn our head, and keep our head upright over our shoulders. What is unique about Dr. Hirschinger's training and his approach to care is that it is non-surgical, which means he does not do irreversible procedures such as adjusting teeth, drilling teeth, or having patients wear an appliance 24 hours a day for several months as many neuromuscular dentists would. If a patient complains about muscle pain, it is only common sense to treat the muscles that are causing the pain. It does not make sense to treat teeth because humans do not walk around with their teeth clenched during the daytime so why would adjusting teeth help a patient?

Please click here to learn more about the types of muscle pain Dr. Hirschinger treats at his private practice in Beverly Hills, California. 

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