Question: What can be done about my headaches and TMJ problems?
David Wilhite says:
The common denominator of TMJ (Temporomandibular joint) headaches and migraines is what is known as bruxism (clenching and grinding).
Now the big question: what causes people to clench and grind?
This has been a subject of controversy in dentistry for many years. Some dentists seem to only consider only one of the many possible causes.
The possible causes include, but may not be limited to, stress, a bad bite, habit. a sleep disorder, certain medications, recent incorrect dental restorations, and deterioration of the joint.
Since there are many possible causes, no one treatment is going to be an effective treatment for everybody. Additionally, it is certainly possible for a patient to have more than one cause.
There are a variety of possible treatments. Most so-called TMJ problems are related to pain in the jaw muscles as opposed to the joint itself. We start out with a complete, comprehensive examination to determine the most likely cause of the problem. Some patients are able to find relief by doing TMJ exercises.
Related: TMJ Pain Relief
Some of the possible treatments are a bite splint, Botox in the jaw muscles, as bite adjustment, muscle relaxers, and a snore appliance.
There are pluses and minuses to all of these treatments. An example would be the case of a patient receiving a bite splint and the grinding getting worse or the patient being unable to wear the splint. This would be a good indication that the patient actually has sleep apnea and needs a snore guard. In this case, the bite splint took up too much tongue space and shifted the tongue backward which made the apnea or snoring worse.
Sometimes various treatments have to be tried until the right one or more is found to be effective.
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Additional TMJ Information:
TMJ Exercises for Pain Relief
TMJ Disorders – National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research