If you complain of frequent headaches, and headaches do not go away with pain relievers, you may be experiencing symptoms of a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). These types of headaches can usually be treated successfully by a qualified dentist through simple dental procedures and splint therapy.
Dr. Izadi and Dr. Rafat are dentists in Cockeysville, MD, trained and experienced with TMD and TMJ-related pain. Using a contemporary and conservative approach, our dentists are able to restore health, function, and beauty to the mouth with treatments that are virtually pain-free.
What is a Temporomandibular Disorder?
Also known as Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome or TMJ, it is a common complaint among people who go to their dentist for jaw pain. Frequently, the symptoms of this syndrome include headaches and ear pain.
TMJ occurs when the jaw and the teeth don’t align. These pains occur because of the tension and stress that this misalignment causes in vulnerable patients. It can be a frustrating and annoying condition because these pains don’t ever go away or subside when over-the-counter painkillers are administered.
Often, headaches that begin in the early morning are a sign of TMD or TMJ. The headaches can develop similarly to migraines, especially the longer they go untreated.
If you have pain in your temples, or pain anywhere in your neck or shoulders, again with no obvious cause and without any sort of response to painkillers, these can also be signs of TMD. An additional sign of this disorder is frequent clenching of the teeth or bruxism, tooth-grinding.
In order to diagnose TMJ or TMD, our dentists will have your bite analyzed to be certain that you are a candidate for the therapy. This analysis will determine whether your bite has the proper alignment. Patients who are being examined for TMJ will also be given a full oral examination.
Frequent Headaches: What to Expect
A majority of headaches are caused by stress. This can be from external sources as well as stress within the occlusal system. When the TMJ doesn’t function properly or the teeth and jaw aren’t in proper alignment, it can cause stress that results in tension and headaches.
Symptoms of TMJ
The symptoms of TMJ disorders vary widely, but frequent headaches are one of the most common signs. Patients with TMJ headaches often experience:
- Frequent headaches, usually first thing in the morning
- Pain around the temples or back of the head
- Neck pain, shoulder pain, or upper back pain
- Migraine or migraine-like headaches
- Teeth grinding, teeth clenching
TMJ Headache Therapy in Cockeysville, MD
There are many potential treatments for this disorder. One of the ways this disorder is addressed is through the use of a special TMJ guard for the mouth. The patient wears this device during sleep and will find that it helps prevent tooth grinding.
Other therapies for dealing with this disorder include behavioral approaches that teach patients better ways to cope with stress. This approach can reduce the amount of stress-related tooth clenching that people with TMJ often experience. It may help their headaches and tension, as well.
Dr. Izadi and Dr. Rafat will perform a comprehensive examination that includes a bite analysis to determine whether or not your headaches are caused by TMJ dysfunction. Our treatment options for TMJ therapy range from oral appliance therapy to behavioral therapy.
- TMJ Mouthguard – If teeth grinding is a contributing factor to your TMJ headaches, your dentist may make a custom TMJ mouthguard to prevent you from grinding your teeth. A TMJ mouthguard is usually worn while you are asleep.
Frequent Headaches FAQs
How are headaches a sign of a TMJ disorder?
When you grind your teeth or when your jaw tenses up, this will strain and cause pain to your TMJ muscles. This pain can easily spread eventually leading to a headache. The pain in your head can be around the forehead, temples, or back of your head.
If I experience morning headaches, is this a sign of a TMJ disorder?
Yes. Most people who grind their teeth do so at night time while they are asleep. They may not even know they are doing it but will wake up often with a headache. If you suffer from morning headaches in addition to the other signs, you should schedule a consultation with your dentist where they can help you find relief.
Will a TMJ mouthguard cure my frequent headaches?
If your headaches are caused by nighttime teeth grinding, then a TMJ mouthguard can be a successful treatment. When worn at night, it will prevent teeth from grinding and reduce the stress on the joints. This should alleviate your headaches.
Get Relief from Frequent Heacahdces
Contact Valley Dental Health in Cockeysville, MD to schedule a consultation and bite analysis with Dr. Izadi and Dr. Rafat. Call (410) 803-5587 or request an appointment online.