Headaches can be incredibly frustrating. When you have a headache, there are many different reasons why it may happen. One reason, which a lot of people do not realize, is because their jaw is the saw of the pain. The TMJ, otherwise known as the temporomandibular joint, could be to blame for what you are experiencing. The good news, though, is that we offer treatment for TMJ and migraines. Read on to discover more about this and please do not hesitate to get in touch for more information.
What is the TMJ?
The TMJ is a hinge that connects your skull and your jaw. It makes it possible for you to do things like chew, laugh, and talk. It makes it possible for your jaw to move side to side and up and down. Due to the sliding motions and hinge, this joint is a bit more complex when compared with other joints in your body. It can cause a number of different symptoms if there is an issue, and headaches are one of the main symptoms. They tend to be known as TMD, or temporomandibular disorders.
What causes a TMJ migraine?
There has not been a specific cause identified when it comes to TMJ migraines. Nevertheless, it is believed that it could be something as simple as grinding your teeth on a regular basis. Statistics show that around 10 percent of people experience TMJ pain. Moreover, approximately half of the United States population has encountered TMD. There are no specific statistics regarding TMJ headaches because it can be very difficult to distinguish a TMJ headache from a general headache.
So, let’s explain a bit more about the TMJ area so you can understand how these headaches happen. The muscles of the TMJ will run along your cheeks and jaw. Sometimes, these muscles can give you pain, including headaches. When the muscles within your jaw start tensing, which happens when you grind your teeth, the pain can start spreading to the other TMJ muscles, which are on the top and sides of your head, as well as along your cheek, and this is how a headache happens.
How can you tell if you have got a TMJ migraine?
As mentioned, it can be difficult to distinguish between a general headache and a TMJ migraine. There are a number of different kinds of migraines, yet TMJ headaches tend to happen with other symptoms as well. Examples include the following:
- Changes in the way that you bite, i.e. the manner in which your bottom and top teeth fit together
- Restriction in the movement of your jaw
- A “clicking” sound in your jaw
- Facial or jaw pain
- Tight jaw or facial muscles
Most people also tend to find that a TMJ headache will typically recur in one or several areas of your face and head. They can feel a bit like a tension headache.
Why it is important to see your dentist if you suspect issues with your jaw joint
If you have any problems or discomfort with regard to your jaw, scheduling an appointment with your dentist is a must. Your dentist is going to inquire about your medical history, any symptoms you have, and they will examine you too. They will assess your jaw, face, neck, and head to see if there is any tenderness present.
Your dentist may also ask you to move your jaw in different directions. The purpose of this is for them to see if you can move your jaw well. There may be clicking noises or pain when you try to move your jaw, and this could indicate that you do indeed have some sort of problem with your jaw joint. Your dentist will also ask you to open your mouth so that they can see whether you have any problem with your gums or teeth.
Your dentist is also going to want to get to the bottom of whether there is anything in particular that is triggering your jaw problems, for example, when you bite your nails or grind your teeth. Both of these actions can result in jaw issues.
As the jaw joint is very complex, there are a number of potential causes of jaw problems, and so it will be important for the dentist to carry out a number of tests so that they can get to the bottom of what is causing your symptoms. Once an examination has been carried out, your dentist will be able to provide you with an effective diagnosis.
Some of the tests that you could possibly have included an ultrasound scan, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, a computed tomography (CT) scan, or an X-ray.
Irrespective of what treatment your dentist decides is right for you, there are a few things that you can do to help yourself. Trying to avoid bad habits, such as teeth grinding and jaw clenching, is very important. It is also advisable to eat foods that are soft in texture so that you do not have to chew for extended periods of time. Massaging the muscles around your jaw area can also be very beneficial. You should try out different stress reduction techniques as well, as stress is a big factor when it comes to grinding your teeth.
Contact Dental Excellence today
If you would like to find out more about our TMJ treatment, or you are ready to schedule an appointment, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today for more information. We are always happy to answer any queries that you may have, no matter how big or small. Or, if you would prefer, you can request an appointment online.