The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is located at the base of the jaw and connects the upper jaw to the lower jaw. This joint acts like a sliding hinge and is responsible for the opening and closing of your mouth and allows your jaw to move forward and backward.
This joint is present on both sides of your jaw. TMJ disorder, or TMD, is a term that is used to describe a wide variety of potential issues affecting the jaw joint, muscles in the face, neck, and surrounding nerves. TMJ disorder can cause some people a lot of pain in their jaw joints and the surrounding muscles as well as headaches
Even though symptoms of a TMJ disorder will vary greatly from patient to patient, one of the more common symptoms that patients with temporomandibular disorders (TMD) share is frequent headaches. A type of tension headache, these types of headaches are often caused by teeth clenching or teeth grinding that occurs while asleep.
When the teeth do not make proper contact and the jaws are not in proper alignment, it creates stress and tension in the muscles and face, causing headaches to occur. Tension in the jaw and mouth throughout the day also contributes to chronic headaches and migraines.
These “TMJ headaches” most commonly occur in the morning as a result of clenching and grinding of the teeth during sleep.
Other signs that could indicate TMD related headaches are:
- Facial pain (often in the temporal region or sides of the face)
- Pain in the neck and/or shoulders
- Migraine, or migraine-like headaches
- Earache or feeling of fullness in the ears
TMJ Headache Therapy in Columbia, MD
TMJ disorders can be very complex and hard to diagnose. If you suspect that your headaches are caused by TMJ, teeth grinding, or other dental problems, the first step is an evaluation with the dentist. Dr. Ray Becker will review your dental and medical history and examine the fit of your bite and alignment of the TMJ. Depending on the severity of your headaches and condition, one or several treatments may be recommended. Dr. Becker will utilize advanced dental care technologies to diagnose and evaluate your TMJ or teeth grinding problems. He will determine if you have a TMJ disorder or not.
Dr. Becker will choose the most conservative TMJ treatment options first, which may involve lifestyle changes or the use of an oral appliance, such as a TMJ mouthguard. For more severe cases, or after exhausting conservative options, bite correction therapy to restore the alignment of teeth and TMJ may be recommended for lasting comfort and a permanent resolution.
TMJ Therapy: Patient Testimonial
“My headache reduction is at 98%.”
Dr. Becker has extensive training in the diagnosis of occlusal and TMJ disorders and has incorporated some of the latest technology into his Howard County dental office near you. With the use of Tekscan digital technology, Dr. Becker can more accurately determine an imbalance in the bite and create a customized treatment plan.
TMJ Headaches FAQs
Can TMJ be the cause of all migraines?
TMJ increased patients’ chances of having migraines by almost 60%. If you experience migraines it also increases the frequency and severity. Many patients with TMJ report having migraines daily, or many times throughout the week. TMJ treatment can help reduce migraines related to TMJ.
Can TMJ cause brain problems?
TMJ puts stress on muscles in patients’ necks and shoulders, as well as their jaws. This causes more work for the brain to maintain equilibrium. When the brain is having to focus more on this, it has fewer capabilities for other areas, which can cause brain issues.
What does a TMJ headache feel like?
TMJ headaches are typically described as being a high sensation and an achy headache, often only on one side of the head. The headache is usually worse on the side where the patient has TMJ.
Schedule a Dental Exam & TMJ Consultation
For those who suffer from the symptoms of a TMD, successful treatment can be life-changing, restoring their dental health as well as their daily quality of life. Give us a call at (410) 415-9013, or request an appointment online today.