Although headaches and jaw problems may seem to be unrelated, disorders of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can result in headaches as one of their symptoms, along with other issues such as facial pain, locking of the jaw or popping or clicking sounds coming from the jaw.
If you’re experiencing such a combination of symptoms, you may want to consult with an oral surgeon to see if you have a TMJ disorder. These specialists have extensive knowledge of the numerous structures that comprise the jaw, and that expertise makes them particularly well-suited to review imaging of the jaw to arrive at a diagnosis and recommend treatment.
Because the jaw is made of so many components, any number of factors can cause a TMJ disorder. The oral surgeon must thoroughly examine your jaw, including both the bones and the surrounding muscles and tendons, to pinpoint the particular structural problem in your case.
The indicated intervention will depend on the cause of the TMJ disorder. If bruxism (tooth grinding) seems to be an issue, you may be prescribed a custom-designed mouthguard to wear while you are asleep to prevent your teeth from coming into contact with each other. Stress can also cause TMJ disorder, so if that is a concern for you, stress management techniques may give you some symptom relief.
If your TMJ disorder is caused by a structural defect, such as a congenital or developmental problem within the jaw or damage caused by an injury, you may need to undergo a surgical procedure in order to correct the defect. However, not all patients with TMJ disorders will need to have oral surgery. It will only be considered after more conservative interventions fail to produce the desired outcomes.
Do you have frequent headaches along with accompanying symptoms like facial pain and clicking, popping or locking of your jaw? Schedule an evaluation at our office to determine whether a TMJ disorder might be the underlying cause of your issues.