If you suffer from chronic face and neck pain or recurring headaches, the problem could stem from your temporomandibular joints (TMJ), the joints that connect the lower jaw bone to your skull.

When functioning properly, the temporomandibular joints allow for  pain-free chewing, yawning, speaking and swallowing.

When this joint is out of alignment, many different pains and discomforts can occur.  Sometimes, normal jaw motion is even restricted.

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Two different sets of initials are used to indicate this problem:

  1. TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joints
  2. TMD designates the disorder of these joints

Symptoms that you may have a problem with the alignment of your lower jaw (TMD) include: 

  • Headaches
  • Neckaches
  • Pain or stuffy feeling in the ears
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Clicking or popping sound or feeling when the jaw moves
  • Swelling on either side of the face
  • Muscle spasms in the jaw area
  • Limited opening of the mouth or locking of the jaw
  • Incorrect alignment of the top and bottom teeth

If you have one or more of these symptoms, let your doctor and your dentist know.  Your dentist can help diagnose the presence of TMD and design a treatment plant that’s right for you.

Here are a few things you can do at work and at home to help prevent, or at least alleviate the symptoms of TMD:

  • Relax your jaw muscles and avoid grinding your teeth
  • Relax the muscles of your face, keeping lips together and teeth apart
  • Don’t hold the phone in place with your face and shoulder – hold it in your hand or use a headset
  • Don’t chew gum
  • Chew using both jaw muscles evenly
  • Pay attention to your posture
  • Don’t rest your chin on your hand – head up, shoulders even, back straight

Contact our dental office and make an appointment.  We are here to help: (802) 878-5591

Meet Your Dentists

Dr. J. Allen Feeley DDS
Dr. J. Allen Feeley DDS
“I enjoy being able to take care of people on a daily basis, whether it is getting them out of pain, improving their smile, or simply keeping them in excellent dental health.”

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Dr. Nathan Makay DDS
Dr. Nathan Makay DDS
“My profession means everything to me. It is what drives me every day and, other than my family, it is what I enjoy the most.”

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Dr. Michael L. Gibilisco DMD
Dr. Michael L. Gibilisco DMD
“Some children dream to grow up and become astronauts or cowboys, but I’ve always wanted to be a dentist. Now my profession is my passion and my life.”

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Dr. Jessica (Hacker) Hutchins DDS
Dr. Jessica (Hacker) Hutchins DDS
“My job is to give patients as many options as possible, explain the differences, and help them make decisions that fit their lives.”

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How do we compare?

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What Sets Us Apart?


The professionals at Essex Family Dental are among the most skilled dental care teams in Vermont. Dr. J. Allen Feeley, Dr. Nathan Makay, Dr. Michael Gibilisco, & Dr. Jessica (Hacker) Hutchins apply their expertise and consult with one another for the benefit of the people they treat.


Your ease at our practice is very important to us, whether that means a comfortable waiting room, painless treatment, or feeling informed about your care. Our doctors are happy to educate you about your treatment options and our staff is always gentle.                


Essex Family Dental keeps the most convenient hours, offering appointments until 7pm Monday-Thursday, including morning and afternoon appointments on Friday and Saturday. We also schedule same-day treatment for patients with emergency needs.