TMJ and Headaches

Serving Brentwood, Belle Meade and Green Hills Areas of Nashville TN

Nothing disrupts daily life quite like a headache. It may impede your ability to perform at work and school, complete household tasks, and enjoy your favorite activities.

Do any of these conditions sound like something you experience?

  • Severe headaches that regularly occur
  • Headaches that do not respond to standard means of treatment
  • You have been diagnosed with migraines, yet your symptoms are not improving
tmj and headaches

If you deal with the conditions listed above, then your headaches actually could be caused by temporomandibular joint disorder (also known as TMJ disorder or TMD).

Evaluating the link between TMJ disorder and headaches is a complicated topic. Many patients benefit from a face-to-face consultation with a Nashville TMJ specialist to obtain a better grasp of this information. If you or someone you love lives with frequent, painful headaches and you think TMJ disorder could be the cause, call TMJ and Airway Associates of Nashville at (615) 329-1854 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Brian Devine, a physiological dentist serving Green Hills and Nashville.

TMJ Disorder, Headaches, and the Trigeminal Nerve

TMJ disorder refers to a dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jaw joints to the skull. The issue with the temporomandibular joint becomes widespread if left untreated. First, it affects jaw joint function, and then impacts the surrounding musculature, nerves, and blood vessels. One nerve that is often affected by TMJ disorder is the trigeminal nerve, a major neural pathway in the body.

The trigeminal nerve also is responsible for several other important functions, such as:

  • Sending commands that control facial expressions
  • Several crucial, involuntary functions that manage the safety and comfort of the brain, including air pressure and blood supply, via the Eustachian tubes
  • Signals of pain

In essence, headaches caused by TMJ disorder are similar to tension headaches. However, medical science differs regarding the specific cause of migraines. Still, headaches involve stimulation of the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve can become impacted or compressed as a consequence of TMJ disorder. When this happens, the nerve transmits signals of pain to the outer covering of the brain, causing headaches. As long as the trigeminal nerve is compressed, headaches will occur, which explains why the pain may be manageable, but the frequency of the headaches are not.

This also provides more insight as to why patients who have TMJ headaches are often misdiagnosed as having migraines. Click here to learn more about the comparison between TMJ headaches and migraines.

If you experience headaches caused by TMJ disorder, even the most powerful prescription medications will not provide lasting relief—only the symptoms will be treated, not their frequency. The only way to stop these headaches is to find treatment for your TMJ disorder in Nashville.

Medication-Free Treatment for TMJ Headaches

If you have been living with painful headaches for a significant time and have yet to find a long-lasting remedy, TMJ disorder could be the cause. If you experience symptoms associated with TMJ disorder, you should seek the care of a physiological dentist, a specialization of dentistry that focuses on the relationship between the bite and jaw. A physiological dentist can conduct an evaluation to identify if TMJ disorder is present, and then treat the issue by resolving the dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint. Dr. Devine, a top-rated physiological dentist in Nashville, uses a non-surgical and medication-free approach to treating TMJ disorder.

Find out more about the importance of physiological dentistry here.

We prefer to treat TMJ disorder through oral appliance therapy. This entails the construction of a prescription-grade mouthpiece made of high-quality materials. When worn, this device guides the jaws back into their preferred alignment, alleviating pressure on the temporomandibular joint, and decompresses the trigeminal nerve. Oral appliances for TMJ disorder are made from customized impressions of the teeth and mouth, ensuring maximum comfort and effectiveness.

How to Tell if You Have TMJ Disorder

Common symptoms of TMJ include a limited range of motion of the jaw, or hearing a clicking or popping sound as your jaws open and close. Here is a look at more thorough list of TMJ symptoms.

Feel free to visit our page regarding frequently asked questions about TMJ disorder for more information. To schedule a consultation, please call TMJ and Airway Associates of Nashville at (615) 329-1854.

TMJ and Airway Associates of Nashville serve Middle Tennessee, including Belle Meade and Green Hills.

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