Everyone has had a headache at some point in their life. Frequent or recurring headaches, however, are not normal and indicate a problem that could be dental-related. In fact, common dental problems could result in recurring headaches. Annapolis, MD dentist Dr. Scott Finlay has advanced training and experience to diagnose and treat patients who have headaches as a result of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD).
Dr. Finlay utilizes the latest technology and techniques in managing TMD such as computer-assisted occlusal analysis and CT/MRI scans.
TMJ and Headaches
Headaches are among the most misdiagnosed conditions in medicine. Drawing the connection between headaches and TMJ disorders can be difficult for most physicians and dentists. A type of tension headache, TMJ headaches are often caused by teeth clenching or teeth grinding. Clenching and grinding are usually a result of stress.
Who is affected?
Women and people between the ages of 20 and 40 are most likely to experience headaches and facial pain as a result of TMD.
Symptoms of TMD
The signs of TMD are unique to the individual, making it a challenge for an untrained clinician to reach a diagnosis. TMJ symptoms also often mask themselves or are similar to those of other medical conditions. There are many common signs or symptoms and TMJ headaches are typically accompanied by other symptoms which may include:
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Sore jaw or jaw pain
- Neck or shoulder pain
- Poor range of motion in the jaw joints and/or locking jaw
- Popping noise in the jaw joint
- Pressure in the ear or earaches
TMJ Headache Treatment
Dr. Finlay offers a wide range of solutions for patients seeking a cure for TMJ headaches. The key is to identify the causative issues and manage them as conservatively as possible. This may involve physical therapy, medications, splints, and bite correction therapies. It is important to keep in mind that TMJ problems can be progressive in nature and the earlier that this concern is identified, the more conservative the solution may be.
- Splints and Night Guards for TMJ Headaches – Dental splints and night guards are a front-line therapy for headaches. For many patients, they are highly effective and conservative in treating headaches. Dr. Finlay custom fabricates appliances that bring the teeth and jaw joints into proper alignment, managing teeth grinding or clenching, and alleviating muscle tension. A dental splint is worn at night, though some patients benefit from wearing the device during the day.
- Bite Correction Procedures – The teeth should line up so that they make even contact with one another, creating a low-stress bite. Bite correction procedures, also known as occlusal equilibration, bring the teeth and jaws into proper alignment through restorative dental treatments. Dr. Finlay uses a number of treatments including bite adjustments (equilibration), orthodontics, or even dental restorations (crowns or veneers).
Get Rid of Frequent Headaches for Good
Don’t mask headache symptoms with pain medication. For lasting treatment, schedule a consultation with Scott Finlay, DDS & Associates, PA to find out if your headaches are linked to a dental problem.
Call our Annapolis, MD dentist office at 410.989.7132 or request an appointment online.