You might not have even considered going to the dentist for head pain, but there is a connection between headaches and pain in the jaw, face, and neck.

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is characterized by painful symptoms. The condition affects the jaw, jaw joints, and facial muscles that control the jaw. The symptoms can also spread to other nearby areas.

People who have this disorder might have headaches as well as pain in their neck and shoulders. Dizziness can be another problem, along with earaches and ringing in the ears.

Talk to Dr. John S. Kittrell at our Richmond dental office if you have pain that might be related to issues with your jaw. After an evaluation, we can talk about possible treatment options that can help get rid of your pain for good!

What Is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that acts like a hinge, connecting our lower jaw to our skull and enabling us to open and close our mouth. This joint can become inflamed, which causes chronic pain for sufferers. It can also impact jaw mobility.

Disorders of the jaw and the muscles that control the jaw are referred to as temporomandibular disorders (TMD), although many people refer to this as TMJ disorder.

TMJ disorder encompasses a number of issues. Each patient is different, but these are some of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorder:

  • Chronic pain in the head, neck, and upper shoulder
  • Clicking noises when opening and closing the mouth
  • Chewing difficulties
  • Ringing in the ears or earaches
  • Problems opening and closing the mouth
  • Pain with speaking, chewing, or yawning

What Causes TMJ?

One of the most common reasons for TMJ is a misaligned jaw or a bad bite where the teeth do not meet together evenly.

If you grind your teeth—especially when you are asleep and unaware you are doing it—this too can result in TMD as well as other issues, such as chronic headaches. If you suffer from injuries to the cartilage around the temporomandibular joint, this can also cause TMD and the subsequent need for treatment. Additionally, arthritis can contribute to TMJ problems.

Stop TMJ Pain with an Occlusal Adjustment

Solutions for TMJ disorder vary from patient to patient.

At Kittrell Family Dentistry, we take the time to first diagnose the cause of your TMJ disorder so we can recommend a treatment to get rid of your pain.

Some patients might need a bite guard to wear while they are sleeping while others will benefit from an occlusal adjustment, which will slightly adjust your bite so the teeth surfaces are hitting properly when you bite down. This small adjustment can reap big benefits when it comes to ending your jaw pain.

We want nothing more than to help our patients be free of pain while they enjoy good oral health. If you are experiencing jaw pain or have headaches or earaches, you don’t need to suffer. Give us a call for a consultation today! We look forward to speaking with you.