What Is TMD, TMJ?

How is it Connected to Migraines?

TMD stands for temporomandibular joint disorder and this condition is also called TMJ. Your temporomandibular joints are the joints located both sides of your jaw and which are responsible for moving your lower jaw. These joints are connected to a large number of facial muscles and if these muscles or your joints come under stress then it can cause pain. This pain can affect the facial area and may extend into the forehead and temples. If you have chronic headaches or migraines that don’t seem to respond to conventional migraine treatment then you may benefit from migraine treatment for TMD. People who clench or grind their teeth, a condition called bruxism are more risk of developing TMD and bruxism is often associated with this disorder.

What Causes TMD?

TMD can be caused when the jaws are placed under a lot of stress, for example during clenching and grinding. Bruxism is a common problem and generally occurs during asleep. The sufferers can wake up with sore, aching jaws and painful teeth and gums. The pressure created during bruxism can put a lot of stress on the jaw joints, causing the joints and the facial muscles attached to these joints to become inflamed and painful. This pain can radiate out from the jaw joints, affecting the head and neck area and causing tension headaches. You might also notice your jaw makes clicking or popping sounds whenever you try to open or shut your mouth. TMD may also develop if your teeth are misaligned or out of occlusion or if you have any dental restorations that are too high or ill fitting, for example crowns, bridges or fillings.

TMD Treatment

Treatment for TMD and Migraines

If you suspect you may have TMD then it’s worth scheduling an appointment for a proper diagnosis. Our dentist can examine your teeth and jaws for any tell-tale signs of bruxism. These include teeth that are worn down or chipped or which are cracked. We will also check any restorations to see if they need adjusting or replacing and we can also assess the way your teeth bite together to make sure they occlude correctly.

Once we have determined the cause then we can suggest the most suitable migraine treatments. It could be as simple as adjusting any fillings that are too high or if your teeth are out of occlusion then we may recommend orthodontic treatment. Often treatment for TMD can be as simple as wearing a custom-made night guard. This can be very effective in treating bruxism and works by preventing the teeth from contacting during sleep, putting the jaws into a more relaxed position so you cannot clench and grind. The night guard is made from a tough thermoplastic material and will fit comfortably over your upper teeth. This can be sufficient to treat migraine headaches while protecting your teeth and gums from bruxism. Another possible migraine treatment is to use Botox which can help relax the facial muscles, reducing facial tension.