Headaches are one of the most common medical complaints among men and women of all ages. Sometimes, a headache may occur only occasionally, and it may resolve just as rapidly. But for millions of people, headaches are a regular occurrence, and over time, they can take a big toll on your comfort and your quality of life.
Lots of factors can cause headaches, including the stress of leading a super-busy life. But when headaches are chronic, there’s a really good chance they’re being caused by a physical problem — and there’s also a good chance that the problem could be TMJ.
What causes TMJ?
Also called temporomandibular joint disorder, TMJ usually develops in people who have a habit of clenching or grinding their teeth. Excessive clenching and grinding puts a lot of strain on the jaw joints and on the muscles that control them. Although anyone can develop a clenching or grinding habit, especially if you're stressed out, these habits often occur in people with unbalanced or uneven bite mechanics. Your teeth are designed to work in pairs — upper and lower — and when this balance is disturbed, you may unconsciously grind or clench your teeth as your jaws work to find that natural balance. No matter what causes those habits, the increased strain from grinding and clenching causes the muscles and the joint components to become inflamed and irritated, resulting in chronic headaches and sometimes other symptoms like jaw pain and clicking.
TMJ treatment options
If TMJ is caused by an uneven bite, sometimes the condition can be cured by rebalancing the bite with a series of dental treatments like extractions, bridges, or implants to correct your bite balance. When TMJ can’t be entirely cured, its symptoms can still be effectively controlled with treatment options designed to reduce stress and strain on the joint.
Physical therapy for TMJ typically focuses on relieving strain in the muscles around the jaw joints, lower face, and neck. Therapy may include hands-on techniques to reduce stiffness and tension in the joint components, and it can also include exercises you do on your own to improve strength and flexibility in those muscles.
Many patients find their TMJ symptoms can be relieved with mouth guards
shaped specifically for their mouths. The guards usually are worn at night to help prevent teeth grinding that can result in excess strain on the jaw joints. Since each guard is molded on a patient-by-patient basis using state-of-the-art materials, mouth guards can be very comfortable to wear.
Pain Relievers and Anti-depressants
As TMJ can cause serious pain and strong migraines, your dentist in Salt Lake, UT may recommend anti-inflammatory medicines or pain relievers to mitigate the pain. In many cases, the TMJ is triggered due to stress. So your dentist may also prescribe you anti-depressants if required.
Open Joint Surgery
Another reason for TMJ pain could be structural problem with the joint. In that case, the only way to relieve pain is to implement surgical procedures. Your dentists will consider performing open-joint surgery to replace or repair your joint structure.
TMJ is a very serious dental disorder. If you are also suffering from it, you should consider seeking TMJ treatment in Salt Lake, UT
. At Salt Lake Dental
, our dentists understand the seriousness of the problem and treat it with utmost dedication. Contact our experienced team for TMJ treatment today.