“What is TMJ disorder? Can TMJ cause headaches? What are some self-care or dental treatments for TMJ disorder?” … These are only some of the many questions our patients have about TMJ headaches, which cause a variety of symptoms that can be temporarily debilitating.

Unfortunately, many individuals who have frequent headaches do not associate them with a dental issue at first, but that’s often found to be the case. TMJ headaches caused by tooth grinding, clenching, or improper jaw alignment can be very painful, so it’s easy to mistake them for migraines or sinus headaches.

If you get headaches regularly, make an appointment with our dentist in West Bloomfield for treatment or analysis, as this is the first step in identifying the jaw disorder and reducing TMJ flareups.

Signs of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is located in front of each of your ears. This system of muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and the jawbone enable you to open and close your mouth, chew, and speak.

Any problems that keep this system from working properly may lead to TMJ pain.  Possible causes and/or signs of the disorder include arthritis, dislocation, injury, teeth grinding, and improper jaw alignment.  Symptoms include headaches, jaw tenderness, and clicking or popping noises in the jaw, especially when opening and closing your mouth.

TMJ Headache Symptoms

Headaches associated with this jaw disorder have specific symptoms, although they are often confused with migraine, tension, or sinus headaches. Symptoms of TMJ headaches include nausea, sensitivity to light associated with nausea, dizziness, and jaw, cheekbone, or overall facial pain.

The pain may feel like it’s in the sinuses, over the top of the head, in the cheekbone area, or up through the temples. The headache can be aggravated with jaw movement and relieved by relaxing the jaw.

Treatment for Jaw Pain & Jaw Disorders

Treatment for TMJ headaches and TMJ disorder in general include using a specialized mouthguard referred to as an occlusal guard or bitesplint.  Treatment may also include rest in the form of a soft diet, medications such as anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxants, ice and heat packs along with stretching and massaging exercises.

If your headaches are due to tooth clenching or grinding at night, an occlusal guard can help reduce the pressure on your teeth and jaws. We can fabricate a custom fit occlusal guard for you through our West Bloomfield dental office.

To obtain more information to help alleviate jaw pain and TMJ headaches make an appointment to see Dr. Fienman. During the appointment, ask the dentist about occlusal guards and other dental procedures that may help.