Temporomandibular joint disorder, which is often abbreviated as TMJ or TMD, is a common condition that often goes undiagnosed and untreated despite painful symptoms such as recurring migraine-like headaches.
Hayward TMJ dentist Dr. Gary G. Fong has extensive experience helping patients relieve the chronic discomfort associated with TMJ/TMD. Please call 510-582-8727 to schedule your consultation if you experience regular severe headaches accompanied by jaw pain or other indicators discussed on these pages.
Headaches and Other TMJ/TMD Symptoms
Intense headaches often described as migraines are among the most common symptoms of TMJ. These serial headaches are typically accompanied by other symptoms, which may include:
- Pain throughout the jaw, face, neck and shoulders
- The jaw sticking or locking
- The jaw popping or clicking
- Difficulty biting and chewing
- Ringing in the ears or earaches
- Inability to hold your mandible (lower jaw) in a comfortable, natural-feeling position
Because these symptoms can be vague and many are also linked to other conditions, TMJ/TMD is often underreported by patients or undiagnosed by general physicians. Patients enduring these symptoms may believe they’re experiencing toothaches, sinus infections or other ailments.
What Causes TMJ/TMD?
Temporomandibular joint disorder gets its name from the temporomandibular joints, the jaw joints in the connective region between your mandible and your skull.
Another facet of this network is the trigeminal nerve, which registers sensation in your face. Certain malocclusions (bite conditions), jaw alignment problems or poor dental health habits like teeth grinding can place undue tension on or overtax these sensitive components, resulting in migraine-like headaches and other recurrent pain.
Treatment options for TMJ/TMD vary depending on the source and severity of your condition. Many patients find success using custom-made nightguards.
These oral appliances are similar to sports mouthguards, and each is individually crafted to hold your mandible in its proper, relaxed position as you sleep to promote an ideal bite. If you have symptoms of TMJ/TMD, it’s important to consult with a knowledgeable dentist rather than trying over-the-counter mouthguards; these products are designed with a one-size-fits-all perspective that can incorporate a poor bite into them or contribute to a progressively worsening condition.
If you suffer from regular headaches that feel like migraines or other symptoms of TMJ/TMD, please contact Dr. G. Fong. Dr. Fong welcomes patients from the greater Hayward, Castro Valley, San Leandro and Union City, California, areas.