If you keep suffering from tension headaches or a sore neck, you could be having problems with your jaw. A Harvard University Medical School research study recently established that the majority of headaches in someone who's otherwise healthy, can be because of jaw joint disorder (otherwise known as temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD).
Your jaw joint links your lower jaw and your head; it has a robust disc that prevents these two surfaces from wearing out, plus a complex network of muscles and ligaments to operate and support the link. You use this joint all the time - when speaking, eating, swallowing, turning your head - and it actually carries the heaviest load of any joint in the body. To feel it working, put your fingers on the skin immediately in front of your ear lobes then open and close your mouth.
Problems with your jaw joint can affect the rest of your body. For example, a dislocation of the jaw joint disc can pinch the nerves that go into your head and neck and this imbalance of the jaw joint can tire out your facial muscles. If you're suffering from tension headaches, migraines, sore neck, postural issues, cracking or popping in the joint, noises when opening your mouth or shifting of the joint when you bite, then you may have jaw joint problems.
If your jaw joint is in trouble, self-help (such as massage, pain relief medication and exercise) may only provide temporary relief. Your jaw joint needs to come into balance with the rest of your head and have a chance to heal.
At Cambridge Dental an examination of your jaw joint condition can be included as part of a patient consultation or regular dental check-up.
We can then give you a temporary appliance to wear over your teeth immediately after we've examined you, and for many patients this brings almost immediate relief from pain. Longer-term treatments will vary according to your condition, ranging from an appliance through to dental repair.
For an indication of fees for jaw joint treatment, click here.