Q&A: The Link Between Headaches and TMJ Disorder


When you have a headache, work and your daily activities become very difficult. Instead of shutting down and hiding away until the pain subsides, why not try to find the cause of your discomfort and seek treatment? Your chronic migraines may the result of an oral health problem, such as TMJ disorder. Also known as TMD, this jaw joint problem can lead to a number of uncomfortable symptoms. Today, we’re looking at the link between headaches and TMJ disorder.

Livonia, MI TMJ Headache Questions

Question: What is TMD?

Answer: Our jaws are connected the skull by the temporomandibular joints. Without these joints, opening and closing your mouth would be impossible. Unfortunately, the joints can become strained as a result of injury, malocclusion, tooth loss, or bruxism (teeth grinding). When this occurs, a number of uncomfortable symptoms can develop and the patient may have problems opening and closing the mouth.

Question: Do I need treatment?

Answer: If you encounter symptoms of TMD, then you may benefit from treatment. Common warning signs include toothaches, earaches, migraines, jaw pain, a popping or clicking sensation in the jaw, and pain in the neck and shoulders.

Question: How do I stop TMJ headaches?

Answer: In many cases, you can steps to alleviate your symptoms. Avoid chewing on hard objects, such as ice or pencils. Don’t eat chewy foods, as the repetitive actions can exacerbate symptoms. We can also offer muscle exercises to ease tension. For more serious cases, an oral appliance can reposition the jaw to stop joint strain. The oral appliance will be worn at night while you sleep.

Question: Can teeth grinding lead to migraines, too?

Answer: In many cases, TMJ dysfunction can lead to bruxism. When you grind your teeth, you can wear down enamel or even crack and/or chip your teeth. An oral appliance can also reduce teeth grinding episodes. For more information, please contact our office today.


James Steward, DDS, and our compassionate staff proudly serve patients of all ages from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, and all surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at (734) 425-4400.