The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) links your jaw to the skull. It acts as a “sliding hinge”, a joint in front of both your ears. This allows movement in the jaw, so you can yawn, chew, and talk. Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) creates pain and discomfort in the jaw and muscles that handle movement. Migraines and headaches are common symptoms of this.

Do you suffer from migraine headaches a lot? Perhaps, more than once in a while? Are you frequently taking time off from work? Possibly missing out on family gatherings or canceling plans with friends because the pain is so severe? Are your migraine headaches making you feel like you have no control over your own life? Many people experience an occasional headache.

However, not all headaches are the same. You could be suffering from a TMJ headache.

man sitting at home suffering from a headache

How Does TMJ Cause A Headache?

A TMJ disorder happens due to improper alignment. When you suffer from misalignment in your jaw, the muscles in the face attempt to overcompensate. Nerves run through the jaw and its muscles. In fact, they run through face muscles that affect your eyes, teeth, lips, and tongue. Strained muscles impact these nerves. Therefore, the result is a headache or migraine.

There are so many reasons someone can suffer from repeated headaches. Thus, it’s important to review the other signs and symptoms of TMJ. 

Other Signs and Symptoms Of TMJ Include:

  • A “popping” or “cracking” noise in your jaw.
  • Your jaw feels pain when you talk or eat.
  • There’s a persistent discomfort in your jaw.
  • You have neck and shoulder pain.
  • Your jaw can lock, at times.

Should you experience headaches/migraines, along with any of the above signs, this could mean you have TMJ. Consider reaching out to your dentist in Los Gatos for a diagnosis. The sooner you know you have TMJ, the sooner you can address it with treatment. There’s no reason to suffer from headaches, and other pain unnecessarily.

Headache Types

It may surprise you to learn that there are four common types of headaches.

1. Tension headaches

Tension headaches are very common. It feels like a band of dull pain that wraps around both sides of the head.

2. Morning headache

Another common type of headache is the morning headache. This type of headache includes severe pain and pressure that usually worsens whenever you move your head.

3. Cluster headache

A cluster headache can feel like a stabbing or sudden burst of pain behind one eye.

4. Migraines

Lastly, there are migraines, which are the worst headaches of all. Most people who have them suffer debilitating pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light. At times, TMJ is the cause of migraine headaches.

The best way to beat them is with TMJ therapy and treatments. If the pain seems focused more in the jaw and temple area, your headaches could be TMJ migraines. However, only an examination by your San Jose dentist can tell you for sure.

TMJ Therapy and Treatment Options

Treatment for TMJ disorder includes a combination of suggested dietary changes, and relaxation therapies. As well, your dentist in Los Gatos could advise on mouth guards or neuromuscular orthodontics.

Neuromuscular orthodontics is a bit different from your regular “teeth-straightening” treatments. TMJ (and sleep apnea) patients use them to improve the function of bones, teeth, and muscles. Most people link “braces” to cosmetic dentistry and the “appearance” of your smile. However, neuromuscular orthodontics uses the same concept, with a different goal. The idea is to align the teeth, joints, and muscles in your mouth. But, the focus is function versus aesthetics. More importantly, it gets rid of pain and discomfort, too.

Lastly, in cases where the jaw is severely misaligned, your dentist may recommend surgery.

The good news is that TMJ treatments are very helpful in alleviating headaches and other pain related to the condition. This means you can stop canceling plans with family and friends, and start enjoying your life again.

Get Relief From TMJ Headaches in San Jose, CA

Tired of the constant discomfort from repeated headaches or migraines? Perhaps it is time to find out if your TMJ misalignment is causing this. Getting a diagnosis will place you on the right treatment path to gain back control of your life.

This is where Top Down Dental can help. Our team can find the answer you need around headache or migraine pain. We’ll give your teeth and jaw an in-depth examination, so we can determine what’s behind your ongoing headaches. This starts with a T-Scan by Tekscan. Our K-7 system shows your jaw’s muscle strain. In addition, it measures the motion and sound of your jaw joint. It also reveals the stress your jaw muscles are experiencing.

The T-Scan also helps determine treatment. It offers insight into the imbalanced force your teeth use. This is all thanks to the system’s digital bite registration. It provides the exact force of each tooth, as you clench and bite. Thanks to these state-of-the-art technologies, TMJ treatment and diagnosis are easier and more effective.

Why not start this journey today? To schedule an appointment, call our Los Gatos office at (408) 354-5600 or book an appointment online.