Migraines can be debilitating. That’s why if you’re experiencing recurring headaches, it’s important to get to the root of the problem and find a solution.
For more than 15 percent of Americans, a TMJ disorder is what’s causing chronic pain, according to the American Dental Association. If you’re experiencing pain around your jaw and face in addition to the headaches, it’s possible you fall in that group as well.
What Is A TMJ Disorder?
A “TMJ disorder” occurs when your temporomandibular joints aren’t functioning properly. Your temporomandibular joints (or TMJ) are the “hinge-like” connections on either side of your head. They allow you to open and close your mouth when you chew, talk, and yawn.
That’s why if something is amiss with your TMJ, you’ll often experience discomfort when you try to open and close your mouth.
Some other common symptoms of a TMJ disorder include:
- Pain, tenderness, or even swelling around the sides of your face
- A jaw that seems to get “stuck” when you try to open or close your mouth
- A clicking, popping, or grating sound or sensation when you open or close your mouth
- Trouble chewing
- Migraines and headaches
- A tired face
- Feeling suddenly as if your upper and lower teeth don’t fit together properly
- Teeth grinding, or bruxism
It’s important to note that migraines can be caused by a number of things, such as stress, certain foods or drinks, sensory stimuli, sleep patterns, and certain medications. But the muscles around your TMJ extend up to your temple region — meaning dysfunction of the TMJ can cause radiating pain around that area.
How Is A TMJ Disorder Diagnosed?
The best way to know for sure whether a TMJ disorder is the cause of your headaches is to see seek a diagnosis from a dental professional. At A Perfect Smile, we’ll review your medical history and try to rule out other causes of your pain.
We’ll take a look at your jaw joints, watching and listening for signs that they might not be functioning properly.
We also look for signs of wear of your teeth. Wear is often caused by bruxism, which is the grinding of your teeth, usually during the night while you sleep. This is a common cause of TMJ pain. We’ll assess the severity of wear, which helps determine your course of treatment.
If you think you’re experiencing the symptoms of a TMJ disorder, schedule a consultation with Dr. Nelson. He is committed to his “patient-first” philosophy and seeks to provide top-notch care with long-lasting results.
How Is A TMJ Disorder Treated?
We eliminate the unpleasant symptoms by targeting the root cause of your pain.
Most often, bruxism or clenching of your jaw during sleep is what’s causing it. Bruxism is generally fueled by anxiety and stress. It’s important to note, however, that a TMJ disorder can also be caused by movement of the disc between the ball and socket of your TMJ, as well as arthritis.
At A Perfect Smile, we treat TMJ disorders with custom-made dental appliances. These devices resemble athletic mouthguards. This noninvasive treatment method slightly adjusts the position of your jaw while you sleep to minimize stress to the TMJ.
By helping your jaw relax during the night, you’re less likely to experience jaw pain and headaches during the day!
You might have seen over-the-counter mouthguards at your local drugstore, but they won’t fit your mouth as well as a custom mouthguard does — and proper fit is essential to the function of the mouthguard. If it doesn’t fit well, it can actually cause your teeth to shift and worsen your TMJ disorder symptoms, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Plus, a well-fitting mouthguard will prevent bruxism from wearing down or your teeth, ensuring that your smile is healthy and beautiful for years to come!
Find Relief For Your Pain
You don’t have to live with the discomfort. If recurring jaw pain and migraines are interfering with your daily routine, a custom mouthguard can preserve the health of your smile while alleviating the pain!
At A Perfect Smile, we’ve treated many patients experiencing similar symptoms as you, and we’ve been able to improve their quality of life by treating their TMJ disorder. We can do the same for you! Give us a call today at (207) 536-3508, or use our convenient online form to schedule an appointment.