Waking up with a headache can ruin your day. Waking up every morning with a headache can become unbearable.
If you find that you have a headache more often than you would like, in the morning stop reaching for the ibuprofen. Instead, reach out to Overmeyer Family Dental if you live in or near Orlando, FL.
Your frequent headaches could be the result of a TMJ disorder.
If so, there’s a decent chance you will experience other symptoms as well. We will be discussing those symptoms below.
Headaches As A TMJ Symptom
You already know that headaches can happen for a lot of reasons. We can’t get into all the possible causes here, but having headaches frequently when you wake up can point toward TMJ as a possible cause.
Why is this?
One of the most common causes of TMJ problems is teeth grinding, which millions of Americans do while they are asleep. This bad for your teeth because it wears down the enamel. That can leave your teeth feeling sensitive and more vulnerable to decay.
It’s also bad for your jaw. A healthy person bites with around 200 to 250 pounds of force. That’s more than we need to eat the food that we eat, but it’s also a force our bodies are built to handle.
By comparison, research has shown that people who grind their teeth can generate 500 pounds of pressure or more. That’s a lot of added pressure on your teeth, your facial muscles, and your TMJ.
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which connects your lower jaw (or mandible) to your skull. To feel these joints moving, place your hands on either side of your face just below your ears. Then open and close your mouth.
Their location is part of the reason many people experience earaches and headaches (including migraines) as a result of TMJ disorders.
Other TMJ Symptoms
If you are suffering from a TMJ disorder, then headaches or earaches may not be your only symptom. Here are some other signs of a TMJ problem:
▸ Jaw pain
All that added pressure on your jaw joints can cause pain in your jaw and the muscles around it. That could be a lingering pain. It may be a pain you notice at certain times, such as during or after eating or after speaking for a long time.
▸ Jaw movement problems
TMJ can lead to swelling or alignment problems. This can limit your ability to fully open or close your jaw. It also could cause your jaw to feel stuck at times.
▸ Pain in your neck, shoulders, or upper back
In some cases, the problems around your jaw can affect muscles in nearby parts of your body as well. This may be a result of trying to compensate for the issues with your jaw.
And keep in mind that TMJ disorders can affect one or both of your joints.
When Should You Seek Help For Your TMJ Problem?
You should know that many people will experience TMJ problems during their lives. Not all of those problems will rise to the level of a TMJ disorder, however.
If you are having pain while eating, sometimes sticking to soft foods for a few days can alleviate the problem. Applying an ice pack can reduce swelling and alleviate pain in your jaw or face. Applying moist heat can help with jaw mobility problems.
If these symptoms return or they persist in spite of these home treatments, then we urge you to call us. Our dentists in Orlando, FL, can examine your mouth and jaw to determine if teeth grinding is a contributing factor in your TMJ.
If so, we can create a special mouthguard for you to wear while you sleep. Each of these mouthguards is custom-fitted for our patients to be comfortable to use. Your mouthguard can serve two important functions.
First, it acts as a barrier to prevent you from grinding your teeth together. Second, it adjusts your resting jaw position. As you get used to sleeping with the mouthguard, your jaw will become more relaxed. This can alleviate the pressure that’s causing your headaches and other problems.