Temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ is a condition that can often present with the symptom of a headache. The TMJ is something that connects your skull with your jaw and there are several problems that it can cause. These usually occur in the muscles and joints that are surrounding it, for example, when this joint comes under some pressure a tension headache may present.
If you sustain an injury to you TMJ then you may be more prone to suffer from a headache. If you are in an accident on the road or while playing sports then you may fracture the joint. This can lead to you needing reconstructive surgery.
There is a small disc that is located between the socket and the ball of the TMJ and this is an area that can be particularly prone to causing headaches. These can occur if it is physically stressed or even if the muscles that surround it are. This type of condition can occur when you clench your teeth together.
Headaches can be caused by:
- TMJ compression
- TMJ disk dislocation
- Jaw dislocation
- Jaw clenching
- Tooth grinding
- Bite misalignment
Many of these causes of headaches can be treated. Repairs to the TMJ can result in a reduction or elimination of your headaches.
Treatments for TMJ
Depending on the type of health professional from which you seek treatment, there are a number of different ways to deal with TMJ and its symptoms.
TMJ is often misdiagnosed by general medical doctors because the symptoms are so common. Oftentimes medication for headaches will be prescribed while the cause of the headaches remains untreated. If you experience TMJ symptoms, you should consult a dentist. Dentists can provide an accurate diagnosis of TMJ and a referral to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
There are many options for treating TMJ. To relieve the symptoms, many dentists will prescribe mouth guards to prevent tooth grinding and realign the jaw into a proper bite. These measures prevent the pain caused by TMJ symptoms but often do not correct underlying problems.
There are many types of oral surgery, some of which may correct and eliminate TMJ disorders. If your headaches are caused by a misaligned jaw, corrective jaw surgery can place the jaw in a proper position.
Other Symptoms of TMJ
If you experience headaches along with other TMJ symptoms, you should contact an experienced dentist for diagnosis.
The following are common symptoms associated with TMJ:
- Clicking or popping noises in the jaw
- Jaw locked in opened or closed position
- Pain around your ears
- Facial swelling
- Tooth pain
- Humming or ringing in ears
These are just a few of the symptoms associated with TMJ. If you experience persistent headaches, you should seek a dental evaluation to determine if you have TMJ disorder.
For information about TMJ treatment in Washington, D.C., please visit the website of Dr. Daria Hamrah at NOVA SurgiCare (www.novasurgicare.com).