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TMJ, TMD and Your Chronic Headache


You may have heard people talking about TMJ and the pain it causes. They are right about the pain… but not quite right about the name. TMJ is actually the name of the joint itself – the temporomandibular joint – and TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder) is the more correct term for the disorder that causes most of the pain.

Your TMJ in Buckhead and its system is an amazing arrangement of complex equipment. Most people never think of it or notice the tremendous job it’s doing until it starts to malfunction. But TMJ malfunction can happen for many reasons – and it happens a lot!  First, both joints have to work in synchronicity with coordinated movements.  The jaw also needs to move smoothly forward and laterally for proper mouth opening. When the top jaw and the bottom jaw aren’t in balance (called malocclusion), the TMJ can be affected, causing a variety of symptoms, from tooth grinding to migraines

What is TMD?

For your TMJ system to function correctly, everything has to work together in harmony – your joints, your muscles, and your teeth. If it’s off, you will very likely suffer from chronic headaches and the other painful or irritation problems of TMD disorder.

The symptoms of TMD are pretty varied, but a lot of them have one thing in common – pain or discomfort. In fact, TMD is a major contributor to chronic headaches and even migraines. Below is a list of some of the most common symptoms. You may find that you only have a few or many symptoms from the list.

●       Headaches or migraines

●     Ÿ  Neck, shoulder, back or upper body pain

●     Ÿ  Facial pain

●     Ÿ  Popping, clicking or grating noises in the jaw joints

●     Ÿ  Jaw that locks open when yawning or eating

●     Ÿ  Limited jaw movement

●     Ÿ  Teeth that are chipped, worn, cracked or coming loose

●     Ÿ  Dental restorations that don’t last or break

●     Ÿ  Pain in or around the jaw joints

●     Ÿ  Toothaches that don’t stay in just one tooth or area

●     Ÿ  Congestion or stuffiness

●     Ÿ  Earaches

Why Worry About TMD?

TMD can be so painful that it disrupts every aspect of a person’s life. But even when pain is minimal, it can contribute to joint or tooth damage and lead to possible overuse of medications.

How Your Buckhead TMJ Disorder Dentist Can Help

We usually treat TMD with splint therapy. Every splint is custom designed to fit your mouth and teeth securely and comfortably.  These splints work so well to relieve and correct TMD because they allow your muscles to relax and gently reposition the jaw joints so they work together without any strain or pain. Once relief and stability are accomplished through splint therapy, we may reshape or restore your teeth so your upper and lower jaw can meet in a comfortable position. This will enable your jaw joints, muscles, and teeth to function in harmony, and prevent future pain or tooth breakdown.

To find out if your headaches are caused by TMD or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Todd Davis, call our Buckhead dental office today!

Filed under: General Dentistry

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