Can TMJ Disorder Cause Frequent Head or Ear Aches?

Can TMJ Disorder Cause Frequent Head or Ear Aches?

TMJ DubuquePatients who notice an uptick in headaches, in combination with other symptoms, may be experiencing a disorder of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The jaw is comprised of a number of components, including bones, muscles and tendons, so if any of them isn’t working correctly, the patient may develop jaw pain, and the jaw may also click or lock during chewing. Facial pain, headaches and ear pain that seem to originate in the jaw or radiate from that area also are frequently associated with TMJ disorders.

If you have been struggling with this cluster of symptoms, you should consult with an oral surgeon, who can examine your jaw and diagnose the particular problem as well as recommend the most effective treatment.

Keep in mind that although an oral surgeon may be the specialist to diagnose your condition, the treatment may or may not involve an invasive procedure. Often, more conservative approaches will be attempted first, and if the patient still doesn’t get any relief, surgery can be considered. For example, stress can accelerate the symptoms of a TMJ disorder, including causing tension headaches. Therefore, relaxation techniques can be a highly effective method to address these symptoms.

However, if a structural defect in the jaw appears to be causing or contributing to the TMJ disorder, oral surgery may be needed in order to correct or repair the defect and eliminate the symptoms. In some cases, the surgeon may collaborate with an orthodontist to realign the teeth and the jaws, if necessary.

Of course a number of conditions unrelated to a TMJ disorder can also cause headaches, so it’s important to consult with your doctor whenever you’re experiencing a troubling symptom like this, especially if the headaches are not accompanied by jaw stiffness or pain.

If there appears to be no other obvious cause for the headaches, and you also notice related symptoms in your jaw, call our office to schedule an evaluation and learn what can be done to address your symptoms.