Are you having frequent headaches? Did you know that your headache, ear, or jaw pain, problems chewing, gum recession, sensitive or worn teeth, neck pain, and even ringing in the ears could be symptoms of Temporal Mandibular Joint Dysfunction (often called TMJ or TMD)? Many people associate TMJ with stiff jaws and nothing more, but it can actually cause a number of problems, for both your oral health and your overall well being. If you’re experiencing frequent facial pain, it’s important to see your dentist, as TMJ just might be to blame.
Causes of TMJ Injuries
Your lower jaw moves on temporomandibular joints, or TMJs. When these become injured it can create a host of problems commonly referred to as simply TMJ. One of the most common problems is having headaches. But what causes damage to these joints?
- Injury to the chin or jaw
- Poor jaw alignment
- Missing teeth
- Improperly or partially erupted wisdom teeth
- Nighttime teeth grinding
- Clenching, either chronically or during stress
What you can do at home when having headaches
There are some things you can do at home when you are having headaches from TMJ. Using ice packs, avoiding extreme movements of the jaw (chewing gum, yawning widely, singing loudly) and sticking to soft foods can help. Learning relaxation techniques can also be beneficial, so you hold less stress in your jaw.
How A Dentist Can Help
While pain relievers can temporarily address many of the pains associated with TMJ, in many cases dental therapy can provide more lasting relief. In some cases treatment may be as simple as using a night guard to prevent nighttime grinding. Splints can also be used to stabilize the jaw. However, some patients may require more extensive measures be taken.
If you are having headaches frequently, find out more about TMJ
Aside from providing dependable general and restorative dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is a former adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve patients from Chicago and all surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at 847-234-0517.