Jaw misalignment can affect more than just your teeth. Individuals that experience constant headaches often mistakenly attribute their migraines to other factors; however, complications with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can often lead to these issues. Here’s what you need to know to stay proactive with your health and alleviate or eliminate negative side effects related to your bite.
What is Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD)?
When the jaw is misaligned, it often causes complications with the joint connecting the jaw to the rest of the skull or to the surrounding muscles. This leads to problems when moving the jaw and other issues related to the misplacement. A misaligned jaw may crack or grind, leading to tenderness around the face and neck area. This is essentially what leads to the migraines and headaches many experience.
Individuals with TMD may also experience earaches, jaw stiffness, and difficulty speaking or chewing comfortably.
TMD affecting an individual’s health can be reduced or eliminated by following these tips:
Avoid chewing gum and look for softer foods. Exacerbating the inflammation around the TMJ can greatly increase an individual’s chance of experiencing a migraine episode. Minimizing your jaw’s movement helps to reduce swelling and improve your overall comfort.
Take pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication. Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen can greatly improve comfort during an episode and reduce chances for another one.
Massage the muscles around the joint. This can break up tension around the TMJ and alleviate pain or discomfort.
How Can Visiting a Dentist Help?
Headaches that stem from TMD can be incorrectly associated with other factors. Many doctors misdiagnose migraines caused by TMD as tension headaches. However, receiving an evaluation from an appropriate dentist for TMJ related issues can properly diagnose the problem at its source. Receiving treatment for TMD can reduce or eliminate the frequency of migraine headaches caused by inflammation in the jaw muscles.
Graff & Peterson Dental is dedicated to helping patients improve their quality of life. Drs. Scott Peterson and Christopher Graff offer TMJ evaluation to determine if treatment for migraines involving the jaw may be necessary. Call our practice and schedule a consultation with our dental care providers today.