Migraine or TMJ?

Depew Dentist Near Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Lancaster & Orchard Park

Woman with headache sitting on her bed and holding her head

Migraine headaches are often intense. They can come on alone or with increased sensitivity to sight and sound, nausea and vomiting, and visual effects like an aura. They can last for days. They do not always respond to medication.

Often throbbing, frequently unbearable, migraine headaches may be triggered by:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Food additives
  • Processed foods
  • Salt
  • Fasting
  • Sensory stimuli
  • Changes in the weather

Migraines may also be triggered by inadequate sleep, hormonal changes, and stress.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

TMD (also known as TMJ) is a condition resulting from misalignment in the jaw. This often results in clicking or popping noises when biting and chewing, and can cause jaw pain and locking if not treated. Generalized facial pain, pain in the ears, and pain behind the eyes are also common symptoms of TMJ. So too are chronic headaches.

When the jaw is misaligned, pressure is placed on the trigeminal nerve – the largest of the cranial nerves. Pressure on the trigeminal nerve can cause pain in any of its three branches:

  • Ophthalmic Nerve. Supplying sensation to the eyes, skin, sinuses, scalp, and upper face
  • Maxillary Nerve. Supplying sensation to the roof of the mouth, nasal cavity, sinuses, the palate, and midface
  • Mandibular Nerve. Providing sensation and motor function for masseter muscles (biting and chewing), the tongue, lower teeth and cheeks, and swallowing

Pressure on any part of the trigeminal nerve can produce severe pain along any of its branches, most often behind the eyes, in and around the ears, and throughout the upper head. This pain can cause nausea and vomiting. It may be accompanied by sensitivities to light and sound. It may, for all practical purposes, seem to mimic a migraine. But it cannot be treated as a migraine.

Treating TMJ

Treating migraines is often just pain management and learning to deal with discomfort. Treating TMJ involves restoring alignment. Once alignment is restored, stabilization may be needed for continued results, but a life free of pain is entirely possible.

Dr. Evola offers a comprehensive range of TMJ treatment options. The best way to learn if one of them can help eliminate your headaches is through a one-on-one consultation at our comfortable Depew office.

Please call Forestream Dental at 716-656-8686 to schedule a consultation today. Located in Depew, we welcome patients from Orchard Park, Buffalo, and surrounding areas of New York.