About Us


view of bay from office

About Us

We are a dental office limited to orofacial pain, orthodontics, and dental medicine.  We are a tertiary treatment center for TMJ, specializing in advanced therapeutics using principles of neuromuscular dentistry.  Northern California Cranio-Facial Diagnostic Center has been in Alameda (the San Francisco Bay Area / East Bay)  and Sutter Creek (Gold Country) since 1986.  We provide services to Alameda, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, and all of Northern California.  We provide rare expertise and specialization in orofacial pain and TMJ dentistry.  A significant percentage of our practice comes from more than 50 miles away.  A large number of our patients fly in to Oakland International Airport as our office is only 5 minutes away.

We provide treatment for a wide range of dysfunctions that occur as a result of jaw misalignment.  Our primary treatment is with removable dental appliances, almost never involving surgery.  With these appliances we are able to align the jaw and teeth and resolve many medical complaints. Through advanced jaw orthopedic techniques Dr. Jennings, a TMJ specialist, is able to treat many cases non-surgically that have been recommended for orthognathic surgery or TMJ surgery. We use traditional braces in some instances to treat orthodontically and finish our cases.

Dr. Jennings, a TMJ specialist, has been practicing

Dr. Jennings

pain management and non-surgical orthodontics for 35 years.   He is a TMJ doctor that has developed a number of innovative diagnostic and treatment protocols that have significantly improved the effectiveness of treatment for jaw dysfunction and a wide number of muscle disorders.  He has done extensive literature research into the neuro-pathology involved with jaw dysfunction, providing a clearer understanding of this complex disorder.  His experience with pain patients has significantly altered his opinions and approach in the treatment of orthodontic patients, almost always opting for non-surgical orthodontics and alternative therapies for orthognathic surgery.

29 Responses to About Us

  1. Kathryn Derby DDS says:

    Dear Dr. Jennings
    My niece has been experiencing seizures for the last 10 years. She 27 years old. She has been to multiple medical specialists who have suggested everything from POTS syndrome to “leaky kidneys” as possible causes. Anti seizure medicine has been ineffective. My niece says her jaws hurt around the time of her seizures. (Chicken or egg?) Have you continued to work in this area? Do you suggest an evaluation?
    Kathryn Derby

    • Dr. Jennings says:

      I would strongly suggest an evaluation. There is extensive literature connecting elevated substance P to seizures. It is just that the medical community is not aware that bite dysfunction causes elevated substance P.
      Dr. Jennings

  2. Francesco says:

    Dear Doctor Jennings,
    I suffer from anxiety, insomnia, difficulty to concentrate on tasks, obsessive compulsive behaviour. I have been following your website for a while, and watched various videos of practitioners that assess tmj to treat Tourette’s, which sometime has ocd as comorbid condition. I have no Tourette’s, but obsessive compulsive behaviour and thoughts, and difficulty to concentrate. The only “physical” symptoms that I have, beside insomnia, are fasciculations of the muscles that can occur in every point of my body (however it doesn’t bother me very much), and the irresistible urge to crack or pop my spine, pelvis, knees, elbows presenting during the day at intervals (this cracks give me relief, otherwise I feel discomfort in the points I need to crack). I also notice that the movement of my mandible is different when I move it to the right, compared to the left; and I chew mostly on my left teeth. I live in Italy. In Italy there are some ICCMO members but, unfortunately, none of them on their websites refers symptoms as Tourette’s or others as related with tmj. They focus on tmj being associated with pain or at most with headaches or other physical symptoms.
    Would you suggest something to me?
    Thank you very much.

    • Dr. Jennings says:

      I would contact one of the ICCMO doctors for an evaluation. I would also be glad to give you input if you were to send me pictures of your teeth/bite to my email. The Tourettes treatment information is not much different than headaches. The ICCMO doctor should be able to treat you adequately. Dr. J

  3. Francesco says:

    Dear Doctor,
    I add some further information missing. I notice that my nostrils alternately close, so that I breathe for most of the time with one of the two. I never had problems with my nose (like injuries), and it appears quiet straight and regular. I have no headache issue.
    Thank you again.

    • Dr. Jennings says:

      It is normal for only one side of the nose to be working at at time. Usually, as a person breathes, one side becomes swollen slightly, and you naturally shift to breathing out of the other side. Usually, on about 1-2 hour interval. Dr. J

  4. Francesco says:

    Dear Doctor Jennings,

    Since I began to analyze the way my upper and lower teeth bite together, I realized that my higher right wisdom tooth is crooked and much “higher” than my higher right second molar. Consequently when I bite deep the mandible is led to shift slightly to the left, as the lower molar finds the opposition of the higher wisdom molar. Only with this shifting of the mandible I can have a full deep bite.

    For five days now I began to keep my jaw never closed, in order to avoid this shifting of the mandible to the left. At rest I keep my teeth not touching together, and I swallow without closing the jaw but by moving the tongue only.
    Is this keeping the jaw always open and swallowing with the only use of the tongue safe?

    Thank you.

  5. S. H. says:

    Dear Dr. Jennings,

    I am a 25 years of age male who suffer from Tourette’s Syndrome. I suffer from blinking of the eyes, facial grimacing, and sniffing. I’ve suffered from this since the age of 6 or 7. I’ve been diagnosed by my Neurologist Dr. Frank L. Cantrell a few years ago(3-4). He’s tried putting me on Nefazodone, but we stopped that immediately due to the fact that it made my tics worse! Thank goodness for the internet which allowed me to stumble on the very few TMJ specialists who are familiar with Tourettes/Tics. Now to the point: Are you able to help me with my condition?(I cannot travel outside of California at the moment)? OR, Are you able to point me in the direction of a TMJ specialist who is familiar with Toureetes/Tics in my local area?(Fresno, CA)?

    Thank you,

    • Dr. Jennings says:

      S.H.- I am not familiar with anyone in the Fresno area that is aware of the Tourettes connection with TMJ. I have a patient that I treat from Fresno that we were not able to find anyone local to treat.

      Tourettes is something that responds to bite therapy at about 70% or greater level.
      DR. J

  6. Catherine says:

    Hi Dr Jennings,
    I have recently developed jaw and cheekbone pain, and numbness in front teeth with twitching scalp muscles. My back teeth are sensitive. I am a mouth breather with a small mouth, and I snore (I am not overweight and have not had a sleep study). Do you look into jaw cavitations/NICO at all in your office, and ozone injections into necrotic bone/area? I have done a lot of research and am looking for a local Bay Area dentist to visit.
    Thank you!

    • Dr. Jennings says:

      Catherine: I do evaluate for cavitations, but if treatment is required I would refer you to Sandor Hites, DDS in Berkeley. Your symptoms of tooth numbness, snoring, and facial pain are most likely due to jaw misalignment causing a disturbance in the Trigeminal Nerve, not cavitations. Jaw alignment assessment is the area that I specialize in. Dr. Hites also advocates jaw alignment (if necessary) before cavitation therapy. Dr. J

  7. Matt says:

    Dear Dr Jennings. A friend has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s at 45 – he’s from the UK. We were looking around on the web and have found quite a bit about your technique relating to TMJ treatment using oral devices etc in order to help Parkinsons symptoms. Would it be possible for you to provide details of a counterpart specialist in the UK who can help in the same fashion that you would? If not perhaps a trip for him to California! Best regards from the UK. Matt

  8. Beth Brown says:

    I have an overbite and intermitant pain in my jaw. Typically when I am stressed, when this happens my lower teeth hit my upper teeth. I have just heard about this jaw misallignment cause systemic problems and I feel like I want to address it before something worse happens. Based on what I’ve read and heard on a podcast I feel like I have this problem. I live in Seattle and I have been researching local doctors but the reviews I saw were not great. Is there anyone here you recommend? Or will I need to travel to you?

  9. Mike says:

    Hello doctor can Patulous Eustachian Tube be treated with these treatments

  10. Mikael says:

    Hi Dr. Jennings,
    Any Doctors you would recommend in the Minneapolis/Midwest area for treating an underbite avoiding jaw surgery if possible? I am one tooth off of optimal alignment.

    Thank you for your time

  11. Mike says:

    Hello Dr,

    I have had TMJ for years, but recently my ears started ringing loudly. My jaw of course has many issues moving. Is that common for this disorder? How would you treat this?


    • Dr. Jennings says:

      Mike: Those symptoms are very common. Typical treatment is anterior repositioning of lower jaw through removable dental appliances of about 2 years duration. Dr. J

  12. jess says:

    Hi Dr. Jennings,
    Do you have anyone you can recommend for non extraction orthodontic work in the bay area possible Oakland or Alameda?
    Thank you.

  13. Carol says:

    My daughter, 19, has complained of jaw popping for at least 5 years. This past winter she was diagnosed with nocturnal epilepsy, although she has had two daytime episodes. Medication hasn’t been very effective. She sleeps with her head on her hands. She has frequent unexplained headaches and bumpy skin, no matter how much lotion she uses. Could all these things be connected with jaw alignment problems? Is there a doctor in the St. Louis/Midwest area that you would recommend? We are anxious to help her but don’t know where to turn. Thank you!

    • Dr. Jennings says:

      Carol: yes all those things could be related to jaw alignment (bumpy skin I suspect is due to elevated substance P).Check with Duane Keller, SL

  14. Lili says:

    Dr. Jennings,
    Can you please tell me about your academic background. I looked all over in your website and could not find anything about you except for your experience ?!?!
    Thank you

    • Dr. Jennings says:

      I have a BA degree in mathematics. I graduated from the University of Pacific School of Dentistry in 1976. Shortly after graduation I started taking many continuing education classes in European orthodontic appliances, functional orthodontics and crozat appliances. In 1978 I became involved in Neuromuscular Dentistry and eventually achieved a mastership certification. Not long thereafter I became interested in “substance P” through some work I was doing with the pioneer researchers investigating chronic fatigue syndrome. I have thousands of hours of literature research pertaining to bite dysfunction and associated medical pathologies (most recently investigating influence of bite disorders and central sensitization). I discovered the use of speech as a diagnostic criteria for the evaluation of craniomandibular alignment which accelerated my learning curve. I am the only person published to my knowledge on the connection between bites and Parkinson’s disease. Dr. J

  15. Dr. Jennings says:

    Michelle: YHes this is likely something I could help with. Typically, when the jaw is retruded it causes the upper cervical to be unstable. Dr. J

  16. Julia says:

    I was having chronic headaches and was dx with a cross bite and TMJ. I had braces and maxillofacial surgery in 1996 and have had multiple unexplained health problems like idiopathic neuropathy, Afib, and the last 2 years lost my sense of smell and taste and have chronic sinusitis which I had polyps removed. None of the testing I’ve had done at Kaiser has provided any answers as to what is causing my health problems. Would it be possible that I am having some type of auto immune response to the titanium that is in my jaw?

    • Dr. Jennings says:

      Julia: possible you do have auto immune, but much more likely that your jaw is misaligned causing elevated substance P. Elevated substance P would likely be cause of autoimmune if you do have it.

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