The Headache and Heartache of TMJ/TMD

There are few universal experiences that are as relatable as a bad headache or migraine. You know the kind of headache we’re talking about; one that turns a fantastic, fun day into a miserable experience where even the slightest sensory stimulation creates a range of pain in your skull.

Migraines can even be more debilitating. Any hopes of being productive at home or the office fly out the window once a migraine settles in, and the agonizing pressure in your temples isn’t the worst of it.

At Fairchance Dental Arts, we sympathize with everyone who has to endure frequent headaches, migraines, and body pain that disrupt their day-to-day lives. Did you know that these headaches could be a symptom of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ/TMD)?

Your dental health may be a literal pain in your neck!

Mouth and Migraines? What’s the Connection?

Many people may find it a bit confusing that their oral health may be the cause of their frequent headaches or chronic migraines. After all, you go to a dentist when you have a toothache, not a headache!

Several studies have shown that over 30% of chronic headaches are misdiagnosed and are actually TMJ/TMD related. An easy mistake to make! Headaches can be symptoms of many conditions, physical and dental.

According to the American Migraine Foundation, nearly half of Americans with TMJ/TMD have intense headaches or migraine as a symptom. If half of those people are told their headaches are caused by something other than TMD, that’s a lot of misdiagnosed conditions!

Why Does TMJ/TMD Cause Headaches?

If TMJ/TMD is commonly associated with headaches and migraines, why is it so easily misdiagnosed? TMD isn’t exactly a rare condition. After all, nearly 12% of the adult population suffers from some form of TMJ/TMD.

However, when it comes to headaches and migraines, the culprit is almost always tension. TMJ/TMD is sometimes caused by frequent clenching of the jaw, usually during stress. This puts an incredible strain on the temporomandibular joint, neck, and shoulders.

This wear can cause neck pain and headaches. Sometimes patients even experience facial nerve pain. Find headache relief today at Fairchance Dental Arts!

Signs of TMJ/TMD

TMJ/TMD is a very broad term, relating to nearly anything that affects your temporomandibular joint (the two “hinges” of your jaw that connect to your skull). Some of these conditions can be very minor, such as a clicking noise while chewing.

The easiest way to determine whether you are one of the millions of Americans living with it is to schedule a consultation with a dentist.

If you are suffering from frequent tension headaches or migraines, perhaps TMJ/TMD is the culprit. Here are a few other common signs that you may be affected by this condition:

  • Muscle pain when chewing.
  • Limited movement or stiffness in the jaw.
  • A clicking, popping, or grating sound when moving your jaw.
  • A noticeable change in your bite.

Solutions to TMD Headaches

There are several effective solutions to mitigate the discomfort of TMD headaches. Starting with simple lifestyle adjustments, such as eating softer foods and avoiding excessive jaw movements, can significantly alleviate pain.

Physical therapy exercises tailored to strengthen jaw muscles and improve flexibility are also beneficial. Using a custom-made mouthguard at night helps in preventing clenching and grinding, which are common triggers.

Lastly, over-the-counter pain relievers or muscle relaxants are often effective. Consulting with a dentist experienced in treating TMD is crucial for personalized advice and management strategies.

Schedule Your TMJ/TMD Consultation Today

Fairchance Dental Arts is your home for a beaming smile. And it’s a comfortable one! If you or a loved one has been experiencing dental discomfort from toothaches or TMJ, there’s no need to worry. Contact our office today and schedule a consultation.