Headache and Migraine Prevention
From TMJ / TMD
Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD, can manifest itself as recurring pain in the area near the ears, jaw, or the muscles on the side of your face. Some patients experience restricted jaw movement or hear a popping or clicking noise when moving parts of the mandible.
TMD is often referred to as TMJ (temporomandibular joint), which refers to the jaw joint itself. Everyone has two TMJ’s, but that does not mean you have TMD.
TMD is a condition that affects the TMJ and/or the muscles nearby. Sometimes the cause of pain or dysfunction is hard to identify, but luckily, we can prescribe treatments you can do at home to alleviate discomfort. We recommend using all non-permanent treatments before progressing to more permanent solutions, like bridgework or surgery.
The lower jaw, mandible, and the temporal bone of the skull are connected by two TMJ’s on either side that allow three dimensional movement for talking, chewing, and opening your mouth. This is a complex system, held together by large muscles in the cheeks and temples located above the lower jaw. Because of this system’s complexity, it becomes difficult to identify the exact source of the pain or dysfunction causing the TMD. It’s best to see a professional as soon as possible if you experience pain or have difficulty opening or closing your mouth.
What Causes TMD?
Inflammation, soreness, strains of the tendons or ligaments, and disk problems can all affect the TMJ. Genetics and gender can also play a role in who develops TMD – women tend to be more prone to it. A person’s age and stress level can cause it as well. And, in some cases, a condition known as fibromyalgia, which affects connective tissues and muscles of the entire body, could also be the source of jaw pain
What Are Indicators of TMD?
Clicking Sounds — Clicking, popping, or a grinding sound when opening or closing the mouth could be an indicator of TMD. The noise is usually attributed to the disk inside of the TMJ shifting and coming out of alignment. Clicking alone is not an indicator of TMD because thirty-three percent of all people have jaws that click. However, if the noise is partnered with pain or restriction of movement in the jaw, such as it getting stuck or not being able to open it all the way, this may be symptom of TMD.
Muscle Pain — Pain, stiffness or soreness, felt in the cheeks and/or temples can indicate TMD, especially if felt first thing in the morning. The reason behind this is because the two large pairs of the muscles that help the jaw close can suffer from clenching or grinding while you sleep. If you grind or clench while you sleep, we typically recommend having our office create a custom nightguard for you to wear while you sleep. This will help relieve the pressure on your jaw, and help your muscles to relax – saving your teeth and allowing you to get a better night’s sleep.
Joint Pain — Most people are familiar with arthritis, a condition of joint inflammation. Technically, TMJ is arthritis in one or both jaw joints, but in some cases it is difficult to identify. When we examine patients’ x-ray images, we discover that some patients have signs of arthritic TMJs, but don’t feel any pain or experience other TMD symptoms. In other cases, patients come to us with pain in the TMJs, but show no signs or arthritis in the x-ray image. Unfortunately, we have not found a cure for arthritis, but we can prescribe medication to help manage the symptoms.
How Can I Relieve The Pain of TMD/TMJ
The first step in relieving pain is having an examination and working with Dr. Brumbach to come up with a treatment plan. Treatments can range anywhere from restructuring your diet to include softer foods for temporary relief, to icing or applying heat to help reduce soreness. We can even provide you with a stretching routine to help relax those tense muscles in the jaw. If those treatments aren’t providing you with results, we can prescribe an anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxer to reduce pain.
Are There Other Treatment Options?
If your case is more severe and the treatment options outlined above just aren’t enough, we may have to pursue a more permanent solution like surgery or orthodontics. Other minor procedures could include cortisone injections into the joint, or joint flushing (lavage). We always suggest employing reversible, or temporary treatments, before moving onto a major surgery or other permanent solutions. However, our main goal is to reduce your pain and make sure you are as comfortable as possible, so please make an appointment if you have any concerns.
Call our office today to set up an appointment with Dr. Zach Brumbach and his dental professional team if you are suffering from TMD / TMJ and are suffering from headaches or migraines.