TMJ Migraine Treatment

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) is caused by jaw, facial muscle and joint problems. The joint responsible for chewing is called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and connects the temporal bone of the skull to the lower jaw.


Symptoms include: 

  • pain during movement of the face and jaw joint

  • locking or “sticking” of jaw

  • jaw joint grinding or clicking sounds upon movement of the jaw

  • frequent headaches


Grinding or clenching teeth and stress are a couple of factors leading to the development of TMD/TMJ and Migraines. Clenching and grinding can lead to chronic migraines by creating constant pressure on “trigger” areas such as the frontal, temporal, occipital, and nasal zones.


If you wake up and do not feel rested, you have a headache or a toothache, or you have jaw joint pain, or if during a routine dental examination your dentist notices that your teeth have been ground down to a more flattened surface than should be normal, you may be prescribed an occlusal guard. Oftentimes, your teeth may start loosening and you will feel pain in your gums because of clenching your teeth too much.


The purpose of the occlusal guard is to prevent further tooth damage due to clenching and grinding of the teeth. It also helps to prevent more wear on the surface of the teeth. The guards help relax the jaws which in the process lessen teeth grinding and clenching and therefore protects the jaw from joint problems that could eventually occur.

When a dentist prescribes and occlusal guard, it will usually take two visits for the patient to receive the finished product. An impression is taken of either all the teeth on both the top and bottom or just one or the other. This ipmression is then sent to a lab that will make a custom occlusal guard to fit the teeth. The second visit is for the dentist to check the fitting of the guard that was made and to explain how to wear it and how to take care of it.


Custom made occlusal guards are made from either vinyl, resin made from heat-cured acrylic, soft acrylic or light-cured composite. The guard made from the acrylic that is heat-cured is the hardest and most durable. When making guards for children, the softer materials are more desirable because of the child's quickly changing tooth and jaw sizes.


Sometimes it may take several weeks of wearing the occlusal guard before they feel totally comfortable to wear. After that, most users find they cannot sleep without them.



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