For many people, jaw movement is not an obvious part of oral health. However, its importance should not be underestimated. The joints that control your jaw, known as temporomandibular joints, are located on either side of your mouth, next to each ear. As your mouth opens and closes, the joints should pivot and glide together. In the case of TMJ disorder, jaw movement is impeded by swollen, damaged, and/or misaligned TMJs. Because they’re next to the dominant trigeminal nerves, TMJ disorder can cause a large variety of symptoms, including chronic, seemingly-untreatable headaches.
How to Know if Your Headache is TMJ-Related
The truth is that a headache can be caused by an impressively-large number of factors, and trying to diagnose TMJ disorder based only on head pain can be difficult. To determine if your headaches are caused by TMJ disorder, be mindful of other accompanying symptoms, including;
- Stiff, painful face and jaw muscles
- Spasms in your face and jaw muscles
- Unconscious teeth-grinding, or bruxism
- Tinnitus (frequent ringing/pain in your ears)
- Stiff muscles in your neck and shoulders
How We Can Help You Find Relief
If you suspect that your headaches are TMJ-related, then your next course of action should be to seek a professional diagnosis at your dentist’s office. If you wait too long, then your jaw joints can suffer more damage, and the discomfort will grow worse.
After examining your bite and jaw health, we can recommend a custom-designed mouthguard to help keep your jaw positioned more comfortably while you sleep. The appliance can help many patients find relief by allowing the joints to heal, though in more severe cases, you may require more extensive treatment. For instance, if misaligned teeth are to blame for your condition, then we might suggest orthodontic treatment to straighten them.