Thomas M. Weil, D.D.S
Steve L. Koo, D.D.S
Diplomats of the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons

Headache Behind the Ear? Maybe It’s Time for TMJ Treatment

June 6, 2017

Filed under: Other Topics — Dr. Steve Koo @ 1:27 pm

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If you have chronic headaches that pound right behind your ear, that could be your body trying to tell you there’s something off with your TMJ. The temporomandibular joint is the network of ligaments, muscles, and bones that help your jaw to open, close, and move from side to side. If something goes awry with the way it lines up, you’ll probably feel it in the form of chronic jaw, head, neck, or ear pain. Fortunately, TMJ treatment provides relief for many people.

What Causes TMJ/TMD?

A number of factors can cause the condition we refer to as TMJ/TMD. Facial trauma or injury is one frequent cause of jaw pain. Also common is a bad bite — when the upper and lower jaw do not fit together properly, repeated stress to the jaw occurs as it must make minor adjustments each time it opens and closes. Stress-related teeth grinding and clenching also often results in TMJ/TMD.

TMJ issues can affect people of all ages and backgrounds, but women are slightly more likely to experience the condition than men.

TMJ/TMD Headaches vs. Regular Headaches

While pain caused by TMJ/TMD is often confused for a tension headache, it’s really just jaw pain that extends behind the ear. There are some signs that can denote what you are dealing with is actually head pain caused by TMJ/TMD. If you also experience these symptoms alongside chronic headaches, TMJ/TMD may be the cause of your headaches.

  • A clicking, popping jaw
  • Stiffness in the jaw
  • Facial tenderness around the jaw
  • Pain in the ear

The good news is that while tension headaches are not easy to treat, many patients can find an effective solution for head and ear pain resulting from TMJ/TMD with TMJ therapy.

Seek Treatment for TMJ/TMD

The team at Piney Point OMS provides effective TMJ treatment to help you overcome chronic pain at long last. We will begin with a thorough evaluation of your dental and medical history as well as a physical exam, imaging tests, and dental casts. Together, these tools help us reach a proper TMJ/TMD diagnosis.

Some of the most common treatment methods for TMJ/TMD include…

  • Self-help: Trying to reduce stress and alleviate tension in the jaw naturally. Applying an ice pack can reduce discomfort, for example, while warm heat applied to the TMJ at night can reduce the occurrence of nighttime teeth grinding and jaw clenching.
  • Medication: Muscle relaxers help control spasms and pain related to the TMJ.
  • Physical therapy: Visiting a licensed physical therapist can help to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation.
  • Splint therapy: A clear plastic appliance can stabilize the bite and help achieve harmony between the muscles and joints.
  • Occlusal bite therapy: Takes strain off the TMJ by realigning a bad bite.
  • And other treatment options at Piney Point Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

Schedule an Appointment Today!

Do you have any of the symptoms related to TMJ/TMD? Don’t hesitate to seek treatment from your Houston oral surgeon. We invite you to request an appointment at Piney Point Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery to discuss the need for TMJ therapy today!

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2450 Fondren, Suite 320, Houston, TX 77063 USA
Dr. Steve Koo Dr. Thomas Weil Houston oral surgeons Dr. Steve Koo, Dr. Thomas Weil provide implant dentistry services (713) 783-5560 (713) 783-3116 info@pineypointoms.com