You wish the pain would stop, but it keeps coming back.
You get headaches — they feel like migraines — far more often than you would like. The pain makes it hard to be around anyone — family, friends, co-workers. It makes you want to find a room where you can get away from everyday noises and light.
Everything seems to hurt when you have headaches like this.
If you’ve been dealing with these kinds of headaches for a while, then it may be time to seek help. It may be time to talk to one of our dentists if you live in or near San Antonio, TX. You can call (210) 819-5233 or contact us online.
At Advanced Dental Associates, we’ve helped many patients get relief from their headaches by treating another problem — TMJ disorders.
What Is A TMJ Disorder?
Put your hands on each side of your face just below your ears. Now open and close your mouth a few times. You should be able to feel the movement of your TMJs, or temporomandibular joints.
These joints are what allow you to move your lower jaw (also called the mandible), which we think you will agree is useful for eating, speaking, singing, and more.
A TMJ disorder is the result of something interfering with those joints. The causes of TMJ disorders can include everything from accidents to arthritis and from illnesses to injuries.
You also can develop TMJ from bruxism, which is a term for grinding or clenching your teeth. Many people do this without realizing it when they feel stressed or anxious, and millions of people grind their teeth in their sleep.
A normal healthy human bite can generate between 200 and 250 pounds of pressure. When people grind or clench their teeth, they can create two or three times that force.
That places a lot of stress on your TMJ and the muscles and other tissues that surround them.
A TMJ disorder can affect one or both of your joints, and it can create a variety of problems that interfere with your everyday life.
Headaches And Other TMJ Symptoms
Headaches can occur for a number of reasons, so how can you know if your headaches are the result of a TMJ problem?
One clue is when you get your headaches. If you often wake up with a headache, this could be the result of grinding your teeth in your sleep. If you get headaches more often when you are under stress (at work or at home), you could be clenching your teeth as a coping mechanism even if you don’t know that you are doing it.
Headaches may be your only symptom, but there is a reasonable chance that you will notice other problems as well. These symptoms may include:
◼ Frequent jaw pain
◼ Jaw or facial pain during or after meals
◼ Limited jaw movement including sometimes feeling like your jaw is stuck
◼ Popping or clicking sensations when opening or closing your jaw
◼ Frequent earaches
◼ Facial, neck, and upper back pains
You may experience one or more of these problems at different times, but if they are happening more often than you would like, please make plans to visit us.
How We Can Help
We may be able to relieve your headaches by stopping you from grinding or clenching your teeth and by training your jaw to rest in a relaxed position. To do this, we can create a custom-fitted oral appliance.
By wearing this while you sleep, you will be preventing nighttime clenching and grinding. As you adjust to wearing it, your jaw will become more relaxed as well. Many of our patients have found that this reduced the frequency and the intensity of their headaches.