TMJ and Headache

The TMJ is the hinge connecting your lower and upper jaw to your skull. The TMJ is responsible for regulating activities like talking, laughing, and chewing. It enables your jaw to move up and down and sideways.

This hinge might be ruptured, bear an impact during an accident or wear, and tear due to bruxism (grinding of teeth) thus restricting smooth sliding motion and causing a variety of symptoms called Temporomandibular Disorders. One of the most common symptoms of TMJ is a headache.

There are several potential causes of TMJ disorders including –

  • Stress
  • Teeth grinding
  • Dislocation of the jaw
  • Injury in the head
  • Tooth and jaw misalignment
  • Arthritis

You might find it difficult to distinguish between a general headache, migraine or TMJ headache. However, if there is no diagnosis for your recurring headache it is advisable you consult a TMJ specialist and run a special diagnosis for your headache.

The TMJ pain originates in the joint and can spread to other TMJ muscles alongside your cheeks and on the top of your head, causing a headache.

A TMJ related headache might also result from osteoarthritis, joint hypermobility, or osteoporosis.

Symptoms of a TMJ headache

  • Tight facial or jaw muscles
  • A jaw or facial pain
  • A clicking or popping noise in the jaw
  • Restricted movement of the jaw
  • Changes in your bite, the way your lower and upper teeth fit together

Diagnosis

Early diagnosis in TMJ is important to arrest the pain and its serious effects. A TMJ specialist can diagnose a TMJ disorder based on a physical examination and medical history. Additionally, X-ray, CT scan or MRIs can be used to detect the severity of the pain and condition.

The TMJ specialist is a doctor trained to treat TMJ cases. The TMJ specialist depending on your case and extent of pain and severity might advise different treatment measures.

Lifestyle changes

The dentist would suggest minor changes in your lifestyle including-

  • Avoiding hard or chewy food
  • Reducing stress which might bring down jaw clenching
  • Avoiding extreme jaw movements like wide yawning or chewing gum

Medication

  • For pain and inflammation anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs) might be subscribed.
  • Putting an ice pack on your jaw can also reduce pain.
  • Regular jaw exercises help reduce symptoms.
  • A stabilization splint or bite guard are conservative treatments that can be worn on the teeth to reduce teeth grinding.

Surgical treatments

Your dentist might recommend you to an Orthodontist to permanently change your bite, and other dental work if that is the cause of TMJ.

TMJ disorders are not easy to diagnose, and you need a TMJ specialist who can guide you well with your condition and treatment. And early detection of the disorder and timely treatment should be able to reverse a lot of effects thus leading to faster relief.

As a dental clinic offering specialisation in TMJ disorders, we offer you TMJ specialists who can guide you through the entire process. At Ivory Dental Clinic, we are offering full-fledged service under dental care and treatment. Our dental clinic is based in Seawoods should you need to come for a check-up.