Do you often wake up with a headache or experience chronic headaches that are undiagnosed?
It is possible that your headaches are actually the result of tension in the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. Dysfunction in the bite can lead to a range of symptoms such as frequent headaches due to increased muscle tension in the masticatory muscles of the TMJ that can be caused by teeth grinding, jaw clenching or an uneven bite.
Dr. Cook can evaluate the function of your bite to look for signs of malocclusion or damage to the jaw joints. He will also look for the common signs of teeth grinding such as worn teeth. Reducing the incidence of TMJ related headaches relies on a proper diagnosis of the underlying dysfunction in the bite and appropriate treatment.
Treating TMJ Headaches
The most conservative approach to treating headaches that are caused by a TMJ disorder is the use of a night guard. An oral appliance that is much like a sports mouthguard, a night guard is custom fit and designed to reposition the jaw so that it rests in a natural position. This not only prevents teeth grinding, it also allows the jaw muscles to relax and reduces the tension that is often radiated throughout the neck and head area.
Dr. Cook will discuss your lifestyle habits and any medical concerns you may have to determine if there are other factors impacting the health of your smile. Stress can also play a role in jaw tension and patients may benefit from wearing their mouth guard when in stress-inducing situations.