SCOTTS VALLEY, SANTA CRUZ, CA
Just about everyone experiences headaches from time to time. The occasional headache usually is nothing serious. Headaches can often be caused by dehydration, stress or lack of sleep. In these instances, you can probably handle your pain with some combination of over-the-counter medications, rest and drinking water. However, what if your headaches are chronic? At this point, your headaches may be caused by something a little more serious and you shouldn’t rely on medication to get through the day. Temporomandibular joint or TMJ disorder is a condition of the jaw joints that results in facial or dental pain, headaches, and more. So today on the blog, we explain the connection between TMJ disorder and headaches and how to treat chronic headaches without medicine.
How does TMJ disorder cause headaches?
TMJ disorder occurs when there is dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint, the small round joint that connects your jaw to your skull on either side of your head. When TMJ disorder develops, the jaw joints can become unbalanced, strained from muscle tension or even develop arthritis. The jaws can be unbalanced or strained from tooth loss, missing teeth or severely crooked teeth. Sometimes, jaw joint inflammation occurs due to bruxism, a condition in which you clench and grind your teeth, usually while you are sleeping. If you have bruxism, you may be unaware of your condition, although you may experience dental pain or chronic headaches.
Inflammation in the jaw joints reduces blood flow, leading to pain that stems from the trigeminal nerve – a crucial neural pathway that connects to the spinal column, and runs around the skull and jaw joints, then branches into the upper and lower jaw. Therefore, jaw joint trouble that impacts the trigeminal nerve sends signals of pain to the brain that manifest as a headache or, in severe cases, pain radiates to the neck and back. In summary, if you deal with chronic headaches, consider a TMJ evaluation in Scotts Valley.
How do dentists help manage TMJ disorder?
The first step in the process is to determine the exact cause of your TMJ disorder, as well as the severity of your condition. At Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, we use sophisticated technology that determines the precise degree of jaw misalignment, as well as measures the biting pressure across each tooth. The data we collect, along with the results of a thorough TMJ evaluation, helps us determine several factors, including diagnosing TMJ disorder. If you are diagnosed with TMJ disorder, we can discuss ways to manage your condition effectively.
Treating TMJ disorder
We take a conservative approach, which means surgery isn’t going to be your first option. In fact, TMJ surgery in Scotts Valley is rare, and we’ll refer you to a trusted specialist if necessary. However, many of our patients that once suffered the ill effects of TMJ disorder found much needed relief by wearing a customized oral appliance that helps reposition that jaw and relieve tension in the jaw joints. In some cases, rebuilding your bite, like repairing damaged or broken teeth or replacing missing teeth helps establish an even bite, which relieves jaw joint pain.
Neuromuscular Functional Orthodontics (NMFO) is another option for patients with severely crooked or misaligned teeth. Like traditional orthodontics, NMFO straightens teeth slowly over time, but does so while incorporating the use of a neuromuscular orthotic. The goal of NMFO is to establish a functional bite that is comfortable and applies even pressure across your teeth.
After your consultation, we’ll use our findings to present the best TMJ treatment options for you.
TMJ disorder treatment in Los Gatos, Scotts Valley and Santa Cruz in California
Living with chronic headaches isn’t really living and it’s time that you experienced a pain-free life. If you’ve been living with chronic headaches, you owe it to yourself to determine if TMJ disorder is the cause. To learn more about TMJ disorder or schedule a consultation, call (831) 438-4411.