Your Headache Could be the Result of TMJ

Your Headache Could be the Result of TMJ

You’ve got another headache and you don’t know the reason. You’ve talked to your doctor and walked through possible causes, but nothing checks out as a root cause. Even chiropractic care failed to produce results. Is there any stone left unturned when getting to the bottom of the problem?

There is. It’s time to make an appointment with the Dental Center of Tysons Corner to see if your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the culprit. This hinge joint, that permits movement of your bottom jaw, normally works flawlessly. But when a bite problem or other issue causes joint inflammation, you may suffer a host of symptoms, including headaches.  

Most TMJ problems are temporary and heal with minimal care. However, as with headaches, there are symptoms that may not seem to originate in your jaw, so the diagnosis may be missed.

The causes of TMJ disorders

Your jaw’s operation combines hinge and sliding motions. Cartilage covers the parts of the bones that interact, with a disk of tissue that acts as a cushion between them. While in many cases an irritation of the TMJ occurs without an obvious cause, there are some conditions that are known to cause TMJ pain.

An impact injury to the jaw can damage the joint. The cartilage covering the bone could deteriorate because of arthritis, and the cushioning disk itself may erode or move out of place.

You’re at greater risk of TMJ problems if you’re a chronic tooth grinder, but it’s not a sure thing. It’s not known why some jaw clenchers develop TMJ disorders while others avoid it.

Symptoms of TMJ problems

Pain at the joint can occur with inflammation in the area, on one side or both. You may develop pain when chewing, and there may be a clicking sound or grinding sensation when you talk or chew. If your jaw does click but you have no pain symptoms, don’t worry. You won’t need treatment unless discomfort or pain begins.

Displaced pain can sometimes make it difficult to associate what you feel with the TMJ. Pain in and around your ear may be an infection, but it can also be a symptom of a TMJ problem. Unexplained aches and pains around your face may trace back to inflammation of the TMJ.

How is a TMJ problem treated?

Since the nerves of your face and neck are interrelated, pinpointing a TMJ issue is the first step. We at the Dental Center of Tysons Corner are experts in physiologic dentistry, which looks beyond the mouth and considers how the jaw affects the rest of your face. The Center is equipped to diagnose TMJ disorders to positively identify these as the cause of your headaches.

Fixing the problem may be as simple as wearing a custom dental appliance while you sleep. Changes to your bite profile may also improve the mechanics of chewing, relieving any strain on the TMJ.

For those with particularly stubborn TMJ-related pain, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS, can relax muscles, relieve tension, and mask pain. Call our office in McLean, Virginia, or request an appointment online today to end your TMJ headaches.

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