Treating TMJ Could Stop Your Headaches Too
This has not been a good month for you.
One of your coworkers left to accept a job somewhere else, and now you have to pick up his work in addition to what you had been doing.
Your spouse thinks now is a good time to renovate the bathroom, and that has led to arguments about how much to spend on this project.
And you are feeling guilty about the overtime you are putting in at work, especially since you missed your children’s soccer games this past week.
You’ve been having headaches more and more frequently, but you’ve just attributed it to the stress you are feeling right now.
That may be true, but it also may not be the whole story.
You may be dealing with a TMJ disorder. If so, then the dentists at Parkway Dental in Snellville, GA, want to help.
A Headache May Be More Than A Headache
You may have a combination of issues that are contributing to your headaches, which may be a symptom of your TMJ problems.
It would be nice if every headache had the same cause because then we would always know how to treat it. So, how can you find out if your headache is TMJ-related?
First, let’s review what TMJ is. It is the temporomandibular joint. You one of these joints on both sides of your face. They are the point where your lower jaw connects to your skull.
If your headache is a symptom of a TMJ problem, then you will likely exhibit one or more of these other symptoms, too:
▸ Lingering, low-level jaw pain
▸ Jaw pain during a meal or after you have finished eating
▸ Swelling or pain in your face
▸ Frequent pains in your neck
▸ Mobility problems with your jaw
Those mobility issues could include an inability to fully open or close your jaw. It can also mean moments when you are unable to move your jaw at all.
If you are having frequent headaches along with symptoms described above, then we encourage you to call our dentists to make an appointment.
Stress and TMJ Disorders
We want to say from the outset that not all TMJ issues lead to TMJ disorders.
However, stress can contribute to your TMJ problems and subsequently to your symptoms. Some people respond to stress in subconscious or unconscious ways, such as by clenching or grinding their teeth together.
You may not be aware that you are doing this, and in fact, millions of Americans grind their teeth together when they sleep. If you are one of them, this would help to explain frequent morning headaches.
If you visit our office, we can examine your teeth for signs of grinding. As you would expect, this is not good for your teeth. Enamel (the outer layer of your teeth) is the hardest substance in the human body. When you grind teeth against one another, you can wear down the enamel.
The grinding also places pressure on your TMJ as well as the surrounding tissues. This can lead to the swelling and pains that we mentioned earlier.
Dealing With The Source Of Your Problem
One way to reduce this issue is to alleviate the stress in your life. This isn’t always something you can control, but you can learn new ways of coping with that stress.
Some people find breathing and relaxation techniques to be helpful. Other people use exercise as a way to release the tension they feel, and some people benefit from therapy.
You may find one or more of these things can help with your stress.
In the meantime, we may be able to help with the immediate manifestation of that stress. We can create a special mouthguard that you wear while you sleep.
The first thing this mouthguard will do is act as a barrier that prevents you from clenching or grinding your teeth against one another.
The second thing it can do is train your jaw to rest is a different position. This can alleviate the pressure on your jaw, which can reduce the symptoms you have been feeling. That can mean less jaw pain and fewer headaches.
Part Of Your Solution
TMJ disorders can be complicated. They can have multiple causes and produce a variety of symptoms.
As a result, you may need a combination of things to resolve those problems, and one of our mouthguards can be part of the solution. Schedule a consultation with our dentists in Snellville, GA, if you suspect that you may have a TMJ problem.