If you’re suffering from frequent headaches, especially upon waking up, your first thought probably isn’t that they’re being caused by your teeth. However, that might very well be the issue. Dr. Melanie Andrews of Plantation Road Dental Care discusses headaches in Destrehan, LA, and how they may be tied to TMJ disorders.
What is a TMJ Disorder?
TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint. Many times, the abbreviation TMJ can stand for any TMJ disorder as well. It happens when this joint is damaged or dysfunctional, causing pain and discomfort. There are many causes of TMJ, and it has a variety of symptoms. Many of the symptoms may be hard to recognize as being due to a TMJ disorder, such as having frequent headaches.
Most commonly, TMJ disorders are caused by clenching and grinding teeth, crooked teeth, or a misaligned bite. Clenching and grinding the teeth increase stress and tension on the muscles and joints. A misaligned bite or crooked teeth may cause strain because of the way the teeth come together.
How Do I Know if I Have TMJ?
There are a wide variety of symptoms for TMJ disorders. If your headaches are frequent and often occur upon waking, that’s a solid sign that they may be caused by TMJ. TMJ pain may also not be relieved by taking over the counter painkillers like you normally would for a headache. The underlying cause needs to be determined and treated to relieve the pain.
Your headaches may be accompanied by pain in the jaw, face, or ears. Trouble chewing may occur, and your jaw may pop or click. You may notice that you have issues with opening and closing your mouth. TMJ can cause impacts on your teeth, too. You may notice increased wear on them or that they’re chipped and cracked.
Treatment Options for TMJ
Obviously, you don’t want to have recurring headaches, jaw malfunctions, and facial pain forever. Therefore, the underlying cause of your TMJ disorder has to be determined. Certain treatment techniques are beneficial for certain causes. For instance, techniques for jaw relaxation may not be beneficial if your TMJ is caused by a misaligned bite. The bite will need to be in proper alignment for symptoms to go away.
For misalignment, oral appliance therapy is common. A nightguard device can also help to stop grinding and clenching teeth at night. There are a variety of different devices. One can be customized to fit your mouth and issues. They’ll prevent you from grinding your teeth together, helping to protect your teeth from wear and chips. Oral appliances can also ensure your jaw is aligned properly, relieving any pressure and tension on the joint.
Depending on the severity of your crooked teeth or a misaligned bite, orthodontics may be recommended. If your jaw is aligned properly, the symptoms will stop. Lifestyle changes will be recommended if stress and tension are causing you to grind your teeth. Lastly, restorative dentistry services are available to treat teeth that have been chipped or cracked due to your grinding.
Treatment for Headaches in Destrehan, Louisiana
Could your headaches be caused by TMJ? Call us or schedule an appointment online to be evaluated.