Woman-With-Headache-300x200There are many different possible reasons for a headache.  There are also many possible reasons for having pain in your jaw.  For many people, headaches and jaw pain are temporary, if annoying conditions.  However, for some, the headaches and jaw pain cause long-lasting misery.  If your jaw pain and headaches are persistent, you might have a condition called TMJ.  Your Houston dentist, Dr. Deborah Gennero, discusses the symptoms of TMJ and what treatments might offer relief.

What is TMJ

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint.  Disorders in the joint are called both TMJ and TMD.  No matter what it is called, it can cause great suffering for victims.  Headaches and jaw aches are just two of the many symptoms of TMJ.  The condition can also cause neck aches, difficulty chewing, facial swelling, earache, and a number of other problems in the head and neck area.  Unfortunately, the exact cause of TMJ is not known, though it is suspected to be the result of several possible problems, including teeth grinding or clinching, bruxism, arthritis, or an injury to the jaw.

Diagnosis and Possible Treatment

TMJ symptoms can resemble symptoms of other disorders, which can make TMJ hard to diagnosis.  If you suspect you have TMJ, you should make an appointment with both your primary care physician and your dentist.  At your dental appointment, you and your dentist will carefully go over your oral health history.  It is possible that you might be referred to specialists to help with the determination as well.  Once you are diagnosed, there are a number of treatment options that you can pursue, including over the counter pain medications, cold packs, and gently stretching out the jaw muscles. Avoiding foods that are hard or require lots of chewing, as well as yelling or singing, two activities that require a lot of jaw movement, are also recommended.  If bruxism is suspected to be the cause, your dentist can make you a mouthguard to wear at night when most of the teeth grinding associated with the disorder is unconsciously done.  Many dentists can also make a bite splint, which also might help.  The good news for sufferers of TMJ is that most people find a treatment that brings them relief from the condition, though it might require some trial and error.

Consult Your Houston and Katy Dentist for TMJ Symptoms

If you are concerned that you might have TMJ, we can make bite splints and mouthguards and decide what course of treatment might be most effective.  Schedule an appointment at our Houston dental office by calling (251)578-6200. We gladly serve patients in our preventive dentistry practice from Houston, Katy, and surrounding communities.