Treat Your TMJ To Fix Your Headaches

Headaches are a real pain. Headaches can disrupt your day, and severe headaches can make you want to avoid other people completely.

Headaches can interfere with your ability to work and take away from your time with your family.

If your headaches are accompanied by problems with your jaw, then you may be experiencing a TMJ problem. If that’s the case, our team at Advanced Smile Arts wants to help.

Instead of letting your headaches continue, stop by our Danville, IL, dentist office. Dr. Fuesting can examine your jaw and your teeth for signs that your headaches may be due to grinding your teeth.

The Trouble With Teeth Grinding

Before we get too much further, we need to go over a few basics. The joint that allows you to open and close your jaw is your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ.

You have two of these joints, one on either side of your head. You can feel them by placing your fingers near your ears and opening your mouth.

TMJ problems, and in more serious cases TMJ disorders, can develop for a number of reasons. You may be suffering from arthritis. You may have been involved in an accident that caused an injury to your jaw or the muscles around it.

Another common cause of TMJ problems is teeth grinding. When you clench or grind your teeth, you can put 500 pounds of pressure or more on your jaw and the surrounding muscles. For comparison’s sake, a typical bite force for a healthy human is between 200 and 250 pounds.

You may think this is not your issue, but many people grind their teeth without realizing that they do it.

You may do this when you are awake as a response to stress. For example, you have a last minute change to an assignment. Instead of telling your boss how you really feel (and risking getting fired), you “bite your tongue” by clenching your teeth.

Millions of Americans also grind their teeth in their sleep. If you have frequent headaches in the morning, this could be why.

Other Symptoms

Of course, headaches can have any number of causes, too. How can you know if your headaches are connected to a TMJ issue?

You may notice some other symptoms as well:

  • Jaw pain, which may be more common during or after eating
  • Limited ability to open or close your mouth
  • Temporary inability to move your jaw
  • Popping or clicking sounds when you move your jaw
  • Earaches
  • Facial pain
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms along with your headaches, then we would encourage you to make an appointment with us sooner rather than later.

Your Treatment Options

In some cases, you may be able to address your TMJ problem on your own. The TMJ Association offers a few suggestions.

Try learning some new ways to manage your stress. Exercise, meditation, and massage can help some people.

From a physical standpoint, applying heat can help with mobility, and ice can reduce swelling. Sticking with softer foods that are easier to chew can help, too.

If you problems continue in spite of your effort or they return when you stop, then we will be here to help.

When you come to our office, we will examine your teeth for signs of teeth grinding. Your teeth may appear flatter, or they may have become chipped as a result of the added pressure. The enamel on your teeth may become worn down as well.

We also might take X-rays and examine the alignment of your jaw and teeth.

One of the ways we can help is by creating a special oral appliance for you to wear.

You can wear this appliance at night if you grind your teeth in your sleep. This will change the position of your jaw and prevent your teeth from grinding together.

With time, your jaw will adjust to its new, more relaxed position. This should alleviate your TMJ problem and reduce the frequency of your headaches.

If this does not resolve your problem, we will continue to work with you to find a solution.

You Don’t Have To Live In Pain

The last thing we want is for any of our patients to experience pain. We will make every effort to alleviate that pain at our dentist office in Danville, IL.

If you are tired of dealing with frequent headaches, jaw pain, or other possible TMJ problems, please call 217-703-4536 or fill out our online form to make an appointment at Advanced Smile Arts.

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