What do headaches have to do with your mouth? Maybe more than you think. If you have a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, frequent headaches and migraines could be your daily reality. The TMJ is the joint that controls the opening and closing of the mouth, and when it comes under strain, a disorder can develop. But why should a disorder in your jaw cause headaches? Your Des Moines dentist, Dr. Jessica Johnson, answers this question and more as she examines TMJ disorders.
The TMJ and the Trigeminal Nerve
Did you know that most of your face and neck is innervated by the trigeminal nerve? Knowing this fact is important because it provides an explanation as to why a disorder in the jaw can result in a headache. Because the TMJ is innervated by the trigeminal nerve, strain on the TMJ can manifest in different ways all over the face and neck, and one of the ways that strain manifests is in the form of a headache.
Causes of TMJ Disorders
The TMJ can come under strain in a couple of ways. One very common way is through bruxism (teeth grinding). The forces generated from bruxism are capable of cracking and even breaking teeth. That same force is exerted on the TMJ, upsetting its delicate balance and resulting in a disorder. Another common cause of TMJ disorders is malocclusion, also known as “bad bite.” Maloclussion occurs when the teeth of the upper and lower jaws do not fit together properly. The improper fit means that the TMJ experiences strain every time the teeth come together to bite or chew. Such frequent irritation often causes a TMJ disorder.
Treating Headaches in Des Moines
If you suffer from frequent headaches or migraines, you may have a TMJ disorder. Without treatment, symptoms could worsen, resulting in a very poor quality of life. Schedule an appointment with your Des Moines dentist, Dr. Johnson, today by calling 515-223-9764. Our 50266 dentist office welcomes patients from West Des Moines, Waukee, Clive, and nearby Des Moines metro communities.