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. Having practiced over 30 years, I have enjoyed the relationships that I’ve developed with our family of patients.”

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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. Having the opportunity to make people feel better about themselves and their smiles, and to work with people who enjoy it as well, is unexplainable.”

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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. Every day is an adventure and the opportunity to help others is a gift to me.”

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Dr. Jessica Hacker DDS
Dr. Jessica Hacker DDS
“I view myself as an advocate for the patient’s health, not as some sort of Dentistry Dictator. My job is to give patients as many options as possible, explain the differences, and help them make decisions that fit their lives.”

Full Biography

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 L. Gibilisco, and Dr. Jessica Hacker apply their expertise and consult with one another for the unique 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.

A few words from our patients:

Four or five years ago, my son’s mother was not getting him to the dentist, and I only had him on the weekends, so I needed to find a dentist that had weekend hours. There are not many out there, and when I found EFD, I was pleasantly surprised. They have three or four dentists, but we have only ever seen Dr. Kanin. I like my other dentist as well, but the Saturday hours are what sold me on EFD. They also have a lot of evening hours available. Very convenient.
James M., YELP
Dr Feeley and staff has given great care for the past 6 years. What impresses me most is their reliance on technology…from playing Sirius for their music to taking digital X-rays, the technology is top notch. The staff is friendly and a pleasure to deal with. I have 5 kids and take three of them here and two of them elsewhere.
A dentist showing porcelain teeth to pacient
This office is wonderful! They are so nice and professional, and sensitive to those who have had past bad experiences (me) or are timid about the dentist (my daughter). I finally found a good dentist in the area!
Sara R, YELP