Can TMJ or TMD be the cause of my splitting headaches?
Yes, TMJ or TMD can be the cause of splitting headaches. In fact, this is a common symptom. Other symptoms include pain in the face, neck, shoulders, and back. The jaw may pop or click when it’s moved. Even the ears may be affected with aches or ringing. Let’s look at what is actually happening and whether anything can be done about it.
TMJ refers to the joint (temporomandibular joint), and TMD (temporomandibular disorder) refers to issues that affect the joint. Sometimes the cause is genetic, as is the case with arthritis. Other times it occurs when the joint is injured or irritated. Nearby nerves are triggered and they send pain signals to the areas mentioned above.
What kinds of things can injure or irritate the TMJ? Teeth Grinding (bruxism) or jaw clenching are big causes. Overuse of the jaw, like too much gum chewing, is another. Inflammation and infection can affect the joint as well. So what can be done about it? No one wants to live with chronic headaches if they don’t have to.
Your dentist can assess whether the cause of your headaches is from TMJ or TMD. They can then develop a customized treatment in the form of dental appliances called night guards, or bruxing guards. These are small acrylic trays moulded to the shape of your teeth. When you wear them, they provide a cushion between your upper and lower teeth. This eases the tension on your jaw muscles and protects your teeth as well.
Dental appliances like night guards (or bruxing guards) can be purchased in a drugstore and moulded at home, however these fits are not optimal. They can cause discomfort and may result in the development of a bite misalignment.
Schedule an appointment with a dental professional if you suspect TMJ or TMD is the cause of your headaches. The road to relief may be just one visit away.
Contact Riverside Heights Dental in North Surrey BC for information on how we can help you.