Frequent headaches are often an indication of a Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD), a condition that affects your Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ) or jaw joints. Improper alignment of the jaw joints and teeth can cause stress, leading to headaches and other facial pain. Problems may also affect the muscles in your face that help you speak, chew, and open and close your mouth.
Causes of TMJ Disorders
- Trauma: including injury to the jaw or long-term teeth grinding
- Stress, tension, or anxiety
- Malocclusion or poor alignment of the teeth
- Arthritis of the jaw joints
Symptoms of TMJ Headaches
Headaches are one of the most common symptoms of a TMJ disorder. These headaches often occur in the morning, caused by teeth grinding or clenching during sleep. Typically the pain of TMJ headaches starts in front of the ear and spreads to the rest of the head or neck.
Other symptoms of TMD include:
- Pain or tenderness in the area in front of the ear, especially while chewing, speaking, or opening your mouth wide
- Clicking, popping, or cracking sounds when you open your jaw wide
- Limited mobility in the jaw
- Teeth grinding or clenching
Treatment of TMJ headaches
Treatment for TMJ headaches depends on your symptoms and how long they’ve occurred. While eating softer foods, reducing stress, and exercising the jaw can alleviate or reduce TMJ headaches, a professional diagnosis and treatment may be necessary to effectively and permanently relieve frequent headaches. Shiflet, Cox & Morgan can review the history of your problem and determine the best possible option:
Splint or Night Guards
One of the simplest and most effective ways for treating TMJ headaches is through custom made mouth guards. Typically worn at night, these are used to adjust the alignment of the jaw. The guard covers the teeth and prevents clenching and grinding, alleviating patients of the morning headache they experience from TMJ.
If your TMJ headaches are caused by malocclusion, Shiflet, Cox & Morgan may recommend bite correction therapy. This includes reshaping the teeth so they make proper contact through straightening procedures such as Invisalign.
Schedule a Consultation
Shiflet, Cox & Morgan offer many options for TMJ headaches and other related pain. For a diagnosis and treatment plan, call Virginia Beach’s most comprehensive dentist today.