Jaw Joint & Headache
JAW DISORDERS, HEADACHES AND TEETH GRINDING
What is TMD?
It stands for Temporomandibular Disorder, a medical term encompassing the dysfunction and pain of the muscles involved in chewing and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). TMD may cause compression in the nerves that lead to the inner ear, which can result in vertigo and tinnitus. Muscular pain in the jaw can result in headache and migraine due to insufficient oxygen supply to overworked muscles.
You may have TMD if you suffer from any of the following:
- Migraine and frequent headaches
- Discomfort in the jaws
- Difficulty in opening the jaws or difficulty with chewing
- Experiencing pain behind your eyes
- Experiencing blocked ears or ringing ears
- Pain or tightness in the muscles of neck, shoulders or head
- Jaw joint locking or clicking
- Clenching or grinding of teeth
- Constant tooth ache despite absence of dental disease
What are the causes of TMD?
There is no single cause of TMD, as it is caused by a combination of factors. Very often, it is a result of jaw misalignment, which is a consequence of poor teeth alignment. This misalignment makes the jaw muscles work extra hard to compensate for incorrect positioning. TMD may also be a result of trauma, hormonal fluctuation, bruxism (clenching of the teeth), stress, tears in the TMJ capsule, osteoarthritis, poor posture or Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.
TMD: How is it treated?
Treatment may involve any of the following:
- Orthodontic work that will straighten your teeth and correct your bite, enabling the jaw joints and muscles to function in the proper manner.
- Night guards or occlusal splints which help in relaxing the joints and muscles of the jaw to prevent teeth grinding.
- Muscle relaxant injections given into grinding muscles.
- Functional and cosmetic restoration of the damaged teeth due to clenching and grinding.
- Jaw exercises involving heat and physiotherapy.
If left unattended, the negative effects of TMD will worsen over time and become more complicated to treat.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, we encourage you to discuss these matters with an appropriately qualified health practitioner.