More on Headaches & Migraines

Migraine and Headache Solutions 

If you suffer from unexplained headaches or persistent facial pain, you may suffer from a temporomandibular joint disorder, known as TMD. Here in Honolulu, Dr. Keri Do can help alleviate your TMD-related headaches with dental solutions.

What is TMJ and TMD?

The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the joint between the lower jaw and the skull. Unlike other joints, the jawbone portion of TMJ, known as a condyle, is rounded and glides along with the corresponding sockets in the skull. Between the bones lies a small disk that absorbs shock caused by opening and closing the mouth repeatedly. TMJ movement is controlled by a combination of ligaments and muscles on both the jaw and skull.

Many functions depend on the ability to move the TMJ, such as biting, chewing, and speech.  Over time, the small disk between the joint may slowly erode to the point where there is no shock-absorbing cushion preventing the bones from touching. The subsequent damage to the condyle and cushion is known as temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD.

TMD can refer to a number of disorders that severely limit jaw function or causes debilitating pain in the head or neck. As this is such a broad term, it can refer to any dysfunction in or around the joint itself. While there is no specific cause of TMD, certain factors definitely increase the likelihood of developing TMD. Some of these risk factors include stress or anxiety manifested through the clenching of the teeth, teeth grinding known as bruxism, jaw trauma, arthritis, and poor jaw alignment.

TMD-related Headaches

While TMD causes a number of secondary issues, one of the most recognizable manifestations of TMD is headaches. These often debilitating headaches are commonly misdiagnosed as migraines or other types of headaches.

When the headaches are caused by the muscles, the condition is known as myofascial pain syndrome. This common muscle disorder causes dull pain near trigger points in muscles and tendons. Sufferers of TMD often find themselves subjected to this form of tension headache as a result of muscle overuse.

Treatment for Migraines in Honolulu

When treating TMD-related headaches, the goal is to alleviate the pain while reestablishing control and joint function. Dr. Keri Do uses a CT scan to conduct a thorough examination of the patient’s dentition to identify to trigger points. By providing highly in-depth imaging of the entire dentition and jaw, Dr. Do is able to identify the cause of discomfort by looking at both the bite as well as jaw alignment.

After determining the cause, Dr. Do is able to recommend one of our many treatment options. For some patients, the use of orthodontics can help realign the jaw. Unlike traditional orthodontic treatment, this procedure lasts about 6 months, just long enough to correct the bite and jaw alignment. Other patients may find more effective treatment with the use of a repositioning oral device. Similar to night guards used for sleep apnea, these appliances push the jaw forward, keeping the jaw in a neutral position while the patient sleeps.

Often, preventing TMD begins early when children receive orthodontic treatment. When providing orthodontic treatment for children, we closely monitor jaw alignment throughout the process to ensure that these patients don’t end up with TMD problems in the future.

Contact Us Today!

Honolulu dentist Dr. Keri Do is extensively trained to treat any pain caused by a TMJ disorder. If you are looking for relief from headaches, migraines, or facial pain, contact us today