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Can TMJ Dysfunction Cause Headaches?

added on: November 27, 2019

Middle-aged man wearing a gray shirt cringes in pain and cradles his jaw due to TMJ dysfunction

Do earaches, severe jaw pain, headaches, and dizziness sound familiar? If so, you could have a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) condition. TMJ dysfunction, or TMD, can occur when you consistently grind your teeth in your sleep or clench your jaw often. Let’s take a closer look at the causes and symptoms of TMD, and what you can do to alleviate the pain.

What Is the TMJ?

The TMJ is the temporomandibular joint on either side of the head that is responsible for helping you close and open your jaw. When these joints become inflamed, misaligned, or dislocated, it becomes extremely painful to move your jaw around, including eating and talking.

Often, one of the underlying causes of TMJ dysfunction is stress. It’s not uncommon to hear about someone grinding their teeth or clenching their jaw when under stress, but doing so can not only be damaging to your tooth enamel, but also to your jaw. Other causes could be an underlying inflammatory conditions like arthritis, overuse from excessive gum chewing, or recent trauma to the area.

Symptoms of TMD

Jaw pain and swelling, clicking and popping, difficulty opening the mouth, earaches, and chronic headaches are common red flags of TMJ dysfunction, so if you are experiencing one or more of these, it’s time to give us a call!

Treatment for TMJ Dysfunction

Here at Caring Smiles, we can use a T-Scan system to take a close look at your bite and jaw alignment right here in the office. This helps us locate the exact areas of misalignment to develop a treatment plan that’s perfect for you. Depending on how severe your condition is, we might give you a bite splint (which looks like a clear aligner) or a nightguard to shift your bite and prevent grinding. If you suffer from migraines as a result of your TMJ issues, then we might recommend a migraine therapy appliance, a custom-made appliance that acts as a partial mouthguard.

In some cases, minor procedures might be exactly what you need to alleviate the symptoms of your TMJ problems. Equilibration, for example, involves us resurfacing some of your teeth in order to improve your overall bite alignment.

TMD doesn’t have to be a long lasting problem. If you are suffering from jaw pain and headaches as a result of TMJ dysfunction, visit us at Caring Smiles to find out what treatment option would be best for you.