TMD and Headaches

Temporal mandibular disorder (TMD) and Headaches

Most people suffer from occasional headaches that cause throbbing and can interfere with concentration at work or school. For some people, the severity can be very disruptive and ruin the joy from the day.

Often this pain can be traced back to their teeth, their bite relationship, and the alignment of the lower jaw. It can be on both sides, or just affect one side of the jaw.

What causes TMD?

Many of these headaches originate in the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ—the place at the front of the ear where the lower jaw and the temporal bone on the side of the head meet. This jaw joint connects your bottom jaw to the rest of your skull and allows you to speak, chew, and yawn.

Sometimes the bite and the lower jaw are out of alignment, putting additional strain on muscles, which leads to the headaches.

Unfortunately, masking the pain with medication will not solve the problem. Thankfully a simple appliance made by a dentist can help relieve the muscle strain, resulting in relief of pain.

Symptoms of TMD

Common symptoms include:

  • Pain or tenderness in your face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders
  • Pain in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide
  • Problems when you try to open your mouth wide
  • Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open- or closed-mouth position
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew. This may or may not be painful.
  • A tired feeling in your face
  • Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite — as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly
  • Swelling on the side of your face
  • Problems with sleep and rest.
Causes of TMD

The causes of TMD include:

  • Various types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • An injury which has cause a dislocation or fracture of the jaw
  • Long-term (chronic) grinding or clenching of teeth
  • Missing teeth which cause a change in the bite, leading to straining of the jaw muscles.

Treatment for TMD

After being thoroughly assessed by a dentist to determine the cause of the problem, you may be recommended to have on of the following treatment options:

  • A splint or night guard. These plastic mouthpieces fit over your upper and lower teeth so they don’t touch. They lessen the effects of clenching or grinding and correct your bite by putting your teeth in a more correct position
  • Dental work. Your dentist can replace missing teeth and use crowns, bridges, or braces to balance the biting surfaces of your teeth or to correct a bite problem
  • Medication in combination with dental treatment.
Meet the Experts

Dr Nidhi Berera

A beautiful smile can enhance and bring out your confidence and Dr Berera is the perfect person to help you achieve this.

Dr Berera completed her Bachelor of Dental Science from Melbourne University in 2001. She began her employment in a large private practice where she was mentored and gained experience from many accomplished dentists. Since making a seachange 10 years ago, Dr Berera has worked with some of the premier dentists in Sydney and looks forward to providing you with an exemplary level of care.

Dedicated to constantly improving her skills, Dr Berera has taken post-graduate courses in orthodontics as well as staying up to date with the latest innovative advancements in techniques and materials in Dentistry.

Dr Berera enjoys working closely with her patients to give them the best smile possible. She is happy to discuss and identify your aesthetic dental goals and will guide you through all possible treatment options. With Dr Berera’s enthusiasm and expertise, she will ensure that your end result will be a beautiful new smile.

Away from dentistry, She is busy enjoying her time being a mum to her 2 young children. She strongly believes a healthy work and life balance is crucial to ones overall well being and participates in a variety of fitness activities including competitive triathlons and running half marathons.

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