We all find ourselves struggling with a headache from time-to-time, however, if you're having headaches on a very regular or chronic basis, that could be a sign of something more serious. Many of our Amarillo patients visit us complaining of headaches and we discover that they're actually suffering from TMJ. TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint, which is what connects your jaw to your temporal bones, which sit in front of your ears. The temporomandibular joint is essential in opening and closing your jaw, chewing, and speaking. If it is misaligned, it may cause multiple problems, including chronic TMJ headaches.
This diagram shows the areas where your temporomandibular joint attaches to:
The lower jaw is hinged by the muscles and its bone floats in its muscle sling. If your jaw is not properly floating with its muscle sling, it can affect the muscles of your jaw, neck, and the area around your ears.
If you're experiencing jaw pain, it may also be caused by a malfitting crown. It can cause your bite to be misaligned, which can cause problems with your bite and pain in your teeth. You jaw will naturally do everything within its power to get your upper and lower teeth to meet, but a high spot from a malfitting crown or teeth that are out of line will cause pain in that area of your mouth.
When you have a tooth that is causing a high spot in your bite, the muscle groups in the area get fatigued. They will enlist the help of other muscles groups in the area in order to keep the jaw moving and functional. The muscles will also work in order to move the jaw left or right, attempting to keep the teeth meeting properly. However, all of these muscles will eventually experience fatigue as well.
Having all of the muscle groups engaged in order to keep your jaw moving properly will eventually cause them to spasm and be under tension constantly. Because of this, your body will enlist the help of the muscles from the back of your neck as well. This will lead to headaches and neck soreness and stiffness.
All of this muscle tension and pressure will lead to jaw joint pain, clicking, popping, and grating. It will also cause TMJ strain, headaches, and neck strain. Furthermore, it can lead to postural issues, ringing in the ears, ear congestion, dizziness, and even gum recession, tooth wear, and the chipping of your teeth.
How Our Amarillo Dentist Can Help With Your TMJ Pain
TMJ can eventually affect so many parts of your head, neck, and mouth that there's no time to wait to get treatment. At The Esler Dental Group, our Amarillo dentist, Dr. Clinton Esler, has had extensive training in the technology used to treat TMJ. Dr. Esler can relax your jaw and then utilize computerized jaw tracking to determine the best position for your jaw. Once that is determined, he can utilize a variety of treatments including massage or, possibly, a mouth guard in order to keep your jaw in a relaxed and aligned position. You will be able to experience the relaxed, healthy position that you've been longing for and our Amarillo dentist can help you achieve that. For a consultation to determine if TMJ has been causing your pain and headaches and to discover how we can help you, please contact us today by filling out the form on this page or calling us at (806) 576-3076.