Tell A Dentist About Your Headaches

  • February 27, 2016

If someone started tapping you on your forehead right now, how long would you let them do it?

Would you stop them immediately? After a few minutes? Would you endure this for hours?

There’s no way you would let this go on for days or weeks, and yet, we have patients who live with headaches, including migraines, for months before they seek help.

Everyone gets headaches from time to time, and most of the time you can wait it out or take an over-the-counter pain reliever to make it go away faster.

When your headaches keep coming back, that should be a clue that your problem is more than just a headache. You may have a TMJ disorder.

At Forever Young Dentistry, we don’t want to see you or any of our patients in pain, which is why we offer TMJ treatments among the many services at our dentist office in Sterling Heights.

What Is A TMJ Disorder?

It’s possible that you heard someone mention TMJ, but you may not know what it is.

TMJ is your temporomandibular joint. This is the joint that allows you to open and close your mouth and to move your jaw from side to side.

This ball-and-socket joint is where your jawbone connects to your skull. You can feel it moving if you put your fingers near your ears.

We probably don’t need to explain why this joint is important. It helps you bite and chew your food. It helps you speak.

People with TMJ disorders, or TMDs, have problems with this joint. These problems affect different people in different ways. Some of the common symptoms are:

  • Pain in and around your joint
  • Pain or tenderness in your face
  • Pain in your neck or shoulders
  • A limited range of motion for your jaw
  • Your jaw becoming stuck at times
  • Clicking or popping noises with you open and close your jaw
  • Earaches
  • Headaches, including migraines

You may have one of these symptoms frequently. You may have multiple symptoms at different times.

In either case, it’s a good idea to have someone examine your jaw to find out if it is the source of your other problems.

What Causes TMJ Disorders?

We’ve already seen that TMJ disorders can cause a number of problems. It’s also true that TMJ disorders can develop for a number of reasons.

You may have suffered a traumatic injury to your jaw. Maybe you took a hard check during a hockey game or an elbow to the jaw while fighting for a rebound in a basketball game.

You may have an infection that has damaged your joint or the muscles near it.

You may have arthritis. This inflammatory condition can lead to pain and stiffness in any joint, including your TMJ.

Or you may be suffering from bruxism, which is a scientific term for clenching or grinding your teeth. When you do this, it puts added pressure and strain on your TMJ and on nearby muscles and tendons.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, anyone can have a bruxism problem, although it is more common in women.

Teeth grinding is often an unconscious behavior. When you are awake, you may do this without realizing it as a response to stress or when you become angry.

Many people grind their teeth in their sleep, which could explain why you wake up with jaw pain, headaches, and other pains.

How You Can Treat TMJ Problems?

In some cases, you can alleviate the problems on your own. If you notice that your jaw becomes sore while you are eating or after you finish a meal, then you may want to eat softer foods for a few days to see if that helps with your problem.

If you are experiencing a lot of stress in your life at home, at work, or both, then you may benefit from learning some relaxation techniques.

If neither of those approaches make a difference, or if your symptoms keep coming back, then you should call Forever Young Dentistry.

We will take X-rays and examine your teeth for signs of clenching and grinding. If we find it, we can create a mouthguard for you to wear.

This mouthguard can be worn during the day or at night. It will change the position of your jaw, so your muscles can relax. It will prevent you from grinding your teeth together, too.

As you get used to it, your jaw may naturally rest in this new position, and your symptoms should go away.

Stop Your Headaches, Treat Your TMD

Headaches, migraines, and other TMJ-related problems can disrupt your day, which can make it hard to focus on work or a project at home.

You don’t have to live that way. If you live in Troy, Sterling Heights, or anywhere in between, call the dentist at Forever Young Dentistry to help end your pain.

To make an appointment, call 586-698-7135 or fill out our online form.