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Causes of TMD/TMJ Associated Headaches in Bernardsville

Bernardsville Dentist Serving Morristown, Basking Ridge, Mendham, Chester, and Far Hills, NJ

Headaches seem to be the universal symptom for just about anything. While many headaches have a medical reason for occurring, they can also be caused by a dental issue.

Very severe, migraine-like headaches can be a symptom of temporomandibular joint dysfunction, commonly called TMD, or simply TMJ after the joint itself. If you suffer from headaches but have failed to recover after treatments recommended by other healthcare professionals, it may be time to see your dentist. Dr. Patti at Proud to Smile Dentistry in New Jersey is skilled at treating TMJ/TMD and the painful headaches associated with a misaligned bite (malocclusion).

Knowing the causes of TMD can help understand how this dysfunction can cause headaches. A brief summary of the causes of TMD include:

Bruxism

Stress – it’s what we think of first as the cause of clenching or grinding our teeth (medically known as bruxism). Bruxism is a serious condition that can cause TMD and also can loosen, crack, or break teeth and cause other problems that require professional treatment.

An abnormal bite, missing teeth, misshapen teeth, or crooked teeth can also cause bruxism. This pressure can inflame the temporomandibular joint and nerves, resulting in headaches that radiate from the jaw to any part of the head or neck.

Injury

Injuries, such as a jaw dislocation, are bound to cause localized pain. Left untreated, injuries can develop into TMD over time. Add to it inflammation, swelling, and irritation radiating to nearby areas and you get headaches that are indirectly caused by TMD.

Other Types of Disease

Even arthritis can be a cause of TMD, and in turn, of associated headaches. Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, can occur secondary to a lax jaw during sleep, effectively becoming a misaligned bite. Additionally, lack of sleep can cause headaches. Sleep apnea can be treated with bite blocks to hold the jaw forward during sleep. This treatment is similar to treatment for a misaligned bite.

Jaw Pain

TMD symptoms can include clicking, popping, and even locking of the jaw, which in turn can cause muscle spasm and local and radiated pain. That pain can manifest as a headache or even neck and shoulder pain.

Diagnosis

Headaches can be so elusive that doctors have difficulty finding their exact cause. At Proud to Smile Dentistry, we have several diagnostic procedures that will determine whether muscle tension or jaw sounds are present and to what degree. We can determine your ideal jaw position and whether your jaw is misaligned.

Treatments for TMD

Neuromuscular dentistry goes beyond traditional dentistry to treat problems of jawbone alignment, muscles, nerves, and tissues. There are several neuromuscular approaches to treating TMD.

  • TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation) sends an electrical impulse to the jaw muscles that allows them to relax.
  • Orthodontics and dental restorations reshape your teeth and offer other alternatives for treating a misaligned jaw.
  • Other advanced technology used at Proud to Smile Dentistry includes the K7 evaluation system, which tracks jaw movement and helps Dr. Patti determine the ideal resting position for your bite.

If you are suffering from headaches and would like to know if TMD treatment would relieve your pain, please contact TMJ dentist Dr. Patti Swaintek-Lamb at Proud to Smile Dentistry by completing our online form or calling (908) 888-9858 to arrange a personalized evaluation. We welcome TMJ sufferers from Bernardsville, Morristown, Basking Ridge, Mendham, Chester, Far Hills, and surrounding areas in New Jersey.

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See what patients like you have to say about our practice

As always, the staff was warm and welcoming and Dr. Patti listened thoughtfully to all of my concerns and was able to address right on the spot!! She does BEAUTIFUL work!!
Janine Rose
Janine Rose
13:03 10 Nov 22
Thank you for a great job
Eddie Comanche
Eddie Comanche
11:27 10 Nov 22
After a thorough, painfree cleaning by the dental hygienist (Karima), Dr. Patti repaired a molar for me. The injection and filling were painless and she explained everything throughout the process. The entire staff is professional and friendly. Best ever dental experience for someone with dental anxiety.The office very recently underwent renovation and it’s gorgeous.
Doris White
Doris White
02:07 10 Nov 22
A warm and welcoming office . Very professional with the latest technology and knowledge. Always a pleasure.
Diane Quinn
Diane Quinn
23:45 08 Nov 22
The best cleaning I ever had! Very friendly, professional, and courteous. I would highly recommend to anyone!!!
The Rods
The Rods
23:06 19 Oct 22
As someone with a large fear of dentists there is a reason I’ve been coming here for over a decade. The greatest staff, the cleanest and nicest environment, I could go on forever! Just go 🙂
Ashlyn Nicole
Ashlyn Nicole
22:26 19 Oct 22
I always love going to see Dr. Patty and her team. I even met an intern, Paul who is looking to attend Dental School. What a great job giving this young man experience.
Lisa Florio
Lisa Florio
19:58 13 Oct 22
Dr. Patti and her staff are the best. She is very skillful and knowledgeable. She spends time to explain what needs to be done and to answer all questions. She is also a perfectionist who will take as much time as is needed to get the best results for her patients. Her office is state of the art and the staff is also knowledgeable and courteous.
Malinee Sastrasinh
Malinee Sastrasinh
22:59 29 Sep 22
you provide the best dental care in NJ! Thank you!
susan palmer
susan palmer
14:10 04 Sep 22
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