Headache | TMJ Pain Relief

Headache and TMJ Pain Relief Treatment in San Diego County

It is important to understand that properly treating TMJ symptoms requires more than a dentist putting a piece of plastic or a splint in the patient’s mouth. I have seen many night guards, and splints constructed by labs and dentists, that are not helpful and are often harmful to the ultimate resolution of TMJ symptoms.

At the present time in San Diego County, there are dentists using many different techniques to record jaw position and treat TMJ.

Dental Impressions

One technique is to take dental impressions and let a lab make the splint which is often large and bulky. In some cases, there are two splints. There are also two choices to make…wear the splint half-time or full-time. Wearing a splint half-time allows the muscles to relax when the splint is in, but they return to spasm when the splint is taken out. Wearing this type of splint full-time is difficult because it is large and ugly. If the patient wears the splint full-time, the jaw relationship between the teeth will change, (i.e., the prior bite will no longer be valid). In this case, either orthodontic treatment is needed to move the teeth to the new proper position or the teeth will need to be restored to the new jaw position. (Orthodontic treatment does cost much less than new posterior tooth crowns.)

Myomonitor Muscle Stimulator

Some TMJ dentists use a device called the myomonitor, a tens muscle stimulator which relaxes the muscles and positions the jaw near where it should be, depending upon patient posture and other factors. I knew the late inventor well and researched this TMJ treatment technique and instrumentation in the 1970s. The dentists using this method, use the device to record a jaw position to make a splint. This works for some cases. When the patient experiences comfort, they will then build up the teeth or move the teeth with braces even though they are not an orthodontist. The cost depends on which method is chosen.


Some dentists make a TMJ splint based upon the registration they record on a device called an articulator. The device is made to resemble the optimum position of the patient’s jaw. Unfortunately, a mechanical device is often wanting when it comes to recording the position of the jaw. The splint is made in a laboratory and is often big and bulky making it difficult to wear full time. This type of splint requires extensive adjustment and it takes time to get an ultimate jaw position. At the end of this procedure, either restoration of teeth or orthodontics is needed.

Trigger Point Injections

There are some dentists who try to eliminate jaw muscle spasms by using trigger point injections (injecting the sore spots in a sore muscle with anesthetic) and even botox injections. This is an old uncomfortable treatment. A physical therapist now has the ability to make changes in the muscles with less invasive devices. Dentists using trigger point injections, also use a splint when they feel it is needed. It is better to make an accurate orthotic device without the painful injections.

Before Deciding On TMJ Treatment, Consider This

Does the “dentist” chart the muscles involved, the posture of the patient, the nutrition, the diet and numerous other things that may be contributing to the TMJ symptoms?
Does the “dentist” take a holistic approach to treating TMJ and consider the patient’s overall health and wellness?
We think you’ll find that most, if not all, of them do not!

Holistic TMJ Treatment – The Best Solution

Dr. Charles Hulsey’s TMJ treatment is a holistic system. He is very concerned about the body structure posture and he evaluates the muscles in spasm. He uses a very small comfortable lower splint which he makes himself and can readily change as the patient adapts. He determines the optimum jaw position by muscle testing to make the position in harmony with the muscles and nervous system. He requires the patient to wear their splint full-time, except when eating, with the goal of normalizing the musculature and nervous system. Dr. Hulsey often has the muscles normalized by a physical therapy group whom he has worked with for many years.

In addition to properly positioning the patient’s jaw, Dr. Hulsey evaluates their nutrition, vitamins, diet and systemic problems and then makes the appropriate recommendation or referral. He has had years of experience with this holistic system so he know it works. If orthodontic treatment is needed, he tries to keep the tooth movement to a minimum to increase patient comfort and speed of treatment.

You can find additional info on TMJ symptoms, treatment and more on Dr. Hulsey’s TMJ website at SanDiegoTMJspecialist.com.