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That Chronic Headache Could Be TMJ

Frequent headaches can severely diminish your quality of life, especially if they develop into full-blown migraines. Getting a clear diagnosis of the cause of your headaches can also be difficult. However, dental specialists who have experience in treating disorders of the jaw joint are making great strides in curing previously stubborn migraines.

At the Center for Implant & Esthetic Dentistry in Beverly Hills, California, Dr. Ramin Mahallati routinely works with patients who suffer from TMJ pain that refers up into the head, causing migraines that can incapacitate you. 

What is TMJ pain?

Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge that connects your jaw to your skull and allows you to talk, chew, and yawn. The joint’s supporting muscles can spasm, causing pain in your jaw, neck, and shoulders — not to mention frequent, intense, and long-lasting headaches that can ratchet up to migraine intensity.

Who suffers from TMJ pain?

TMJ pain is caused by temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. TMD is most commonly diagnosed in girls and women, ages 15-30. You could have TMD if your jaw clicks when you chew, or if it feels like it locks up when you open your mouth wide. 

Almost 50% of the U.S. population self-report as having some level of TMD, and 10% of Americans report specific facial pain or headaches associated with their TMJ. If your headaches are connected to TMD, they can recur over and over again every few days and create chronic pain that leaves you unable to do normal daily tasks. 

The good news is that unlike many other types of migraines, TMD-related headaches can be eliminated with successful treatment, since the root cause can be identified and addressed.

What is the preferred treatment for TMD-related headaches?

Dr. Mahallati is a dental specialist known as a prosthodontist, who mainly deals in dental rehabilitation. For TMJ problems, he focuses on aligning your teeth for a perfect bite. By restoring proper balance and functionality to your TMJ, he can likely relieve your headache pain.

At your appointment, Dr. Mahallati will perform a full examination, and can map the correct placement of your jaw. He'll then have a prosthetic created, called an occlusal guard. The guard can be worn at night to train you to hold your jaw in the correct position, relieving strain on your TMJ and correcting your TMD.  

If you are tired of constant headaches and suspect TMD, contact the Center for Implant & Esthetic Dentistry. You can call 310-846-8386 or book your appointment with Dr. Mahallati using our online appointment tool.

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