How TMJ Disorder Causes Headaches and More

Many people who suffer from seemingly unexplained chronic aches and pains have trouble finding a correct diagnosis and effective treatment for their troubles. In time, they may learn to simply deal with the inconveniences and move on, or are surprised to learn that their various aches are related to a dental issue called TMJ disorder. Though the dysfunction affects your jaw’s joints, or TMJs, the sometimes-debilitating discomfort can often manifest as repeating headaches, earaches, neck pain, dizziness, and other symptoms that may seem to have nothing in common with your dental health. Farmington Hills TMJ dentist, Dr. Aziza Askari, explain how a dysfunction with your oral health can affect a wide variety of craniofacial areas.

A Look at the Trigeminal Nerve

Your nervous system is the conduit through which you perceive discomfort. About 80% of the input to your brain stems from twelve sets of cranial nerves, which control your sensory input, hand/eye coordination, autonomic control of your organs and blood vessels, and inner ear proprioception (the ability to sense the position, location, orientation, and movement of your body and its parts). The trigeminal nerve accounts for 70% of cranial nerve input, equaling more than half of your nervous system’s total sensory input to your brain, and innervates the majority of muscles and joints that control the function of your mouth.

TMJ Disorder and Trigeminal Nerve Disruption

TMJ disorder describes a dysfunction with your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, that connect your lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bones located in front of both ears. As the pivot for your jaw’s diverse movements, these joints are designed to allow your jaw to glide smoothly in its sockets when perfectly aligned. If these joints become damaged or misaligned, your jaw muscles have to work harder to keep your mouth straight as you bite, chew, and speak. The excessive stress on your entire oral structure can disturb the trigeminal nerve that innervates it, transmitting the discomfort associated with TMJ disorder throughout the nerve’s various structures and transferring it to other parts of your head and neck.

The diversity of TMD symptoms can make diagnosis difficult. Once discovered, however, treating the root cause of the dysfunction (i.e., malocclusion, habitual teeth grinding, a disproportionate jaw, etc.) may be the only solution to finding relief


    To learn more, or to schedule an appointment with one of the experts at the Comfort Dental Group, then contact us today by calling our office at (248) 474-6434. We welcome patients living in and around Farmington Hills, Livonia, Novi, Northville, Westland, and Dearborn Heights, MI.

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