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Is Your TMJ Causing Your Headaches?, Marietta

Is Your TMJ Causing Your Headaches?

sad woman holds her head

Millions of people suffer from headaches, and while there are numerous causes, one often overlooked source is the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). At the Dental Care Center at Kennestone, we frequently encounter patients whose chronic headaches, particularly migraines and tension-type headaches, stem from issues related to their TMJ. Understanding the connection between your TMJ and headaches can be the first step towards finding relief and improving your quality of life.

Understanding TMJ Disorders

The temporomandibular joint connects your jawbone to your skull, acting as a sliding hinge and enabling you to talk, chew, and yawn. TMJ disorders (TMD) can arise from various factors, including jaw injuries, arthritis, genetics, or habits like teeth grinding (bruxism). Symptoms of TMD can include jaw pain, difficulty moving the jaw, and a clicking or popping sound when opening or closing the mouth.

The TMJ-Headache Connection

TMJ disorders can lead to headaches due to the close proximity of the TMJ to various muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. Here’s how TMD might be contributing to your headaches:

  • Muscle Strain: TMJ issues can cause tension and strain in the muscles around your jaw, face, and neck. This tension can lead to tension-type headaches, characterized by a dull, aching sensation that wraps around your head like a band.
  • Nerve Compression: Misalignment or dysfunction in the TMJ can compress nearby nerves, particularly the trigeminal nerve, which is a significant pain pathway for headaches.
  • Referred Pain: Pain from the TMJ area can be referred to other parts of the head, leading to headache or migraine symptoms.
  • Triggering Migraine Attacks: For those predisposed to migraines, TMJ disorders can serve as a trigger, leading to more frequent or severe migraine attacks.

Identifying Headaches Caused by Your Jaw

Determining whether your TMJ is causing your headaches involves looking at the symptoms and triggers. If your headaches often coincide with jaw pain, clicking or popping sounds when moving your jaw, or if they improve when you relax your jaw and facial muscles, your TMJ might be a contributing factor. Additionally, people who grind their teeth at night often wake up with headaches.

Treatment Options for Dental-Related Headaches

The good news is that if your TMJ is contributing to your headaches, there are treatment options available. At Dental Care Center at Kennestone, we approach TMJ-related headaches with a comprehensive treatment plan that may include:

  • Oral Appliances: Custom-made night guards can prevent teeth grinding and reduce strain on the TMJ.
  • Physical Therapy: Exercises and treatments to strengthen jaw muscles and improve joint function.
  • Medication: Anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, or other medications may help alleviate pain and inflammation.
  • Stress Management: Techniques to reduce stress and relax the jaw muscles can help prevent TMJ flare-ups and associated headaches.
  • Dental Corrections: Correcting bite issues or misalignments can reduce TMJ strain.

Seeking Help With our Marietta Dentists

If you suspect your TMJ is causing your headaches, it’s important to seek professional help. A dentist or TMJ specialist can conduct a thorough examination, confirm the diagnosis, and develop a personalized treatment plan. At the Dental Care Center at Kennestone, we are committed to helping our patients find relief from TMJ-related discomfort and improving their overall well-being.

Remember, you don’t have to live with chronic headaches. Understanding the role your TMJ plays in your symptoms is a crucial step towards finding effective treatment and regaining your comfort and quality of life.


Posted on behalf of Dental Care Center at Kennestone


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Our Client Reviews

Dental Care Center at Kennestone

4.8 / 5.0

Based on 247 reviews

  • I absolutely love this dental experience. I used to dread having to make dental trips but since finding this office 4 years ago that took the dread away. From making the appointment, to visiting with the office staff. It's great. The Hygienist is very friendly. But that Dr. O,
    she is a ray of sunshine. Perfect bedside manner, concerning, caring, helpful, and so very positive. I do not have dental insurance and could go somewhere else that may be a tad cheaper but I wouldn't trade this dental office for the world. They feel more like family. Give them a try you won't regret it!

    Angie W.
  • I am very happy I came to this dental office! I tend to avoid going to the dentist because of past experiences, but my visit today was 10/10!! The dental hygienist, Kelly, and Dr. Buffington were so nice and thorough. I highly recommend! So happy I found a good and nice dental office finally!! :)

  • Always a great experience when I come in for cleanings or any work that has to be done. Special thanks to my hygienist Kelli for a good cleaning today and making me feel comfortable. Dr. Buffington is also terrific and very attentive. The entire staff will make you feel welcome and comfortable.

    Mark P.
  • I have been a patient here for many years. I’ve always had positive experiences. I especially like the Dental Hygenist “Callie”. She is just the best, always smiling and cheerful, just what you need at the Dentist. She is very experienced and I’ve learned a lot from her. All the Staff is very nice and polite and Dr Buffington is great also. I’ve had a lot of dental work done by her and never had a problem. She is very gentle and painless too!

    Nancy M.
  • The dentist, Dr. Buffington, hygienist, and staff were professional and efficient. Dr. Buffington provided an excellent explanation to my question so that I understood the situation. High recommend this dental practice.

    Don S.
  • Dr. Buffington has to be the kindest, most patient dentist in the world. The staff is amazingly attentive, non-judgemental and offers a very comforting experience. I appreciate how patient they are with me, a 44-year old that still cries and would rather give birth (without medication) than have dental work. I hope you catch my drift😉

    Adriennes B.
  • I really like Dr. Buffington. She gave me a plan that gives me hope about a TMJ issue. Everyone on the staff was professional and seemed genuinely caring. I would highly recommend the office.

    It’s a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and they don’t try to sell you on things you don’t need.

    Donna D.
  • I highly recommend this dental practice. They took prompt and amazing care of me to address a TMJ episode. Dr. Buffington and all employees I encountered were professional, friendly, caring and knowledgeable. They set me on the path of recovery and have earned my respect and business going forward. How refreshing to engage with a business that truly understands customer service.

    Ronni P.