Can TMJ Disorders Cause Migraines?

June 3, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — drfedosky @ 12:04 am
Woman experiencing a migraine headache due to TMJ disorder.

Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the most important joint in your whole body; it’s what allows you to move and control your jaw so you can bite, chew, speak, and more. Most people don’t think twice about these daily movements—that is, until they experience jaw pain! But did you know that if you have migraines, they might be the result of TMJ disorder? However, neither of these things are chronic issues that you should have to live with. Here’s more from your sleep dentist about the connection between migraines and TMJ dysfunction.

What Is TMJ Disorder?

Your TMJ connects your jaw to your skull on either side of your head, so if something’s wrong with it, there are a lot of potential problems that can arise. Issues with this joint and the muscles in your face that control it are referred to as temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMJ disorders. Experts aren’t always certain what causes TMJ disorders, but it’s commonly associated with bruxism (grinding and clenching your teeth), stress, arthritis, and bite problems. Some symptoms that are often noticeable include:

  • Jaw pain and stiffness.
  • Popping or clicking noises when you move your jaw.
  • Soreness in the neck and shoulders.
  • Frequent earaches and headaches.

Are Migraines and TMJ Disorder Connected?

You might be wondering exactly how jaw soreness can cause such a severe symptom like a migraine! When you clench or grind your teeth, chew with a misaligned bite, or experience some other type of TMJ issue, the extra pressure causes tension in the muscles surrounding your jaws. This stress can easily spread to surrounding tissue and also throughout the whole head, causing pain in various areas. If the pressure is severe enough, it can even trigger a migraine. In fact, recent studies show that patients with chronic migraines are three times as likely to report symptoms of TMJ disorder. That said, treatment is a must!

How Can I Treat TMJ Disorder?

Fortunately, TMJ disorder is treatable with the help of your sleep dentist! While pain medication can assist with headaches or jaw pain, it won’t address the underlying issue. That said, your dentist can inspect your mouth and provide you with an adequate solution, like oral appliance therapy. This includes custom-made night guards that align your jaw over time into a correct and healthier position while you sleep.

Migraines can interrupt your life and make it difficult to relax—and if they’re the result of TMJ disorder, it’s definitely worth seeking treatment. Visit your dentist if you think your jaw might be the cause of your discomfort and get the treatment that you need.

About the Author

Dr. Keane Fedosky proudly serves patients and families in the Plano, TX area. Dr. Fedosky received his dental doctorate from the Baylor College of Dentistry and is a member of several professional organizations including the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, the American Dental Association, and the Texas Dental Association. His practice is pleased to offer TMJ therapy. If you have any questions about the article or would like to schedule an appointment, feel free to reach out online or by phone:  (972) 753-3737

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