Why Chronic Headaches Could Mean Jaw Trouble

There could be any number of possible reasons for having a headache, but many people don’t usually consider their oral health to be one of them. However, if your temporomandibular joints (TMJs) are not functioning properly, then your headaches may be just one of several different related aches and pains. At our El Paso, TX, dental office, we can perform a comprehensive examination to determine if you may have TMJ disorder, and if it may be the reason behind your chronic headaches or migraines. If so, then we can recommend an appropriate treatment, such as a custom-designed oral appliance, to address the condition and alleviate your symptoms.

What TMJ disorder means

Your TMJs are the two joints that are located on either side of your jaw, and upon which it opens, closes, and moves around. When healthy, the joints move together allowing your jaw to move smoothly and comfortably every time you bite and chew. However, if one or both of the joints are damaged or inflamed, or if they’re misaligned and unable to function in tandem, then the disorder can inhibit your bite’s proper function. It can also cause a host of chronic aches and pains in several of your craniofacial areas, including your jaw, head, neck, shoulders, and more.

The source of chronic aches and pains

The nerve group that carries the pain of TMJ disorder is known as your trigeminal nerve. It’s one of your body’s dominant nerve groups and is responsible for your jaw’s movement and much  more. One or two damaged, inflamed, or compromised TMJs can aggravate this nerve, and it can carry the pain along any of its three branches. This is why patients who have TMJ disorder often experience a variety of different symptoms, including chronic headaches, along with discomfort in their jaw joints and muscles.

How to treat the headache (and more)

For many patients with TMJ disorder, the most appropriate option is a custom-made oral appliance designed to help their jaws rest comfortably as they sleep. This can relieve undue pressure and stress that may be causing your TMJ disorder, allowing the joints heal. As they do so, TMJ symptoms will subside, including frequent headaches and migraines. Your bite function can also improve, reducing or eliminating the undue pressure and reducing your risks of experiencing the return of TMJ disorder.

Find relief from TMJ pains

Chronic headaches can be just one of many symptoms of TMJ disorder, and finding relief from them could require customized dental treatment. For more information, schedule an appointment by calling the Sunny Smiles dental office nearest you in El Paso, TX, today! We also have offices in Chaparral, Canutillo, and Vinton so we can easily serve patients throughout all surrounding communities.