Headaches, Jaw  and Facial Pain

Many headaches and neck pains can originate in tired, overworked muscles that open and close the jaws. Up to 80 % of headaches are due to muscle tension.

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) is the group name given to any functional disturbances of the masticatory system (the chewing system). This covers the full range of problems affecting the jaw joints (temporomandibular joints – TMJs), chewing muscles and the teeth themselves.

Signs and symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Neck ache
  • Earache
  • Jaw joint pain
  • Clicking or popping of the jaw joints
  • Limited mouth opening
  • Fractured teeth
  • Worn teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Toothache of no apparent cause
  • Migraine
  • Bite problems
  • Ringing in the ears


Macro trauma

  • Direct blow to jaw
  • Whiplash injury

Micro trauma

  • Bruxism -Clenching and Grinding

Our teeth don’t work in isolation, they are part of a dynamic orthopaedic system, including the jaw joints, the chewing muscles and muscles of the head and neck, which are all controlled by our brain. When we close our teeth together they guide our jaws into a position that we call habit bite. For most people this position does not coincide with the ideal position of their jaw joints, where all the muscles would be balanced and relaxed. Fortunately for most people this falls well within their normal range of tolerance and is not a problem.

Our teeth will normally only touch for 15-20 minutes each day during chewing. However, if we clench or grind our teeth excessively our teeth can be together for hours rather than minutes. This can overload the muscles, wear, fracture or loosen the teeth and strain the jaw joints themselves.

Sleep studies have shown that everyone clenches or grinds their teeth at night while sleeping, but the amount, the frequency and the severity of these activities vary greatly form person to person.

Aggravating factors

  • Stress
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Pain elsewhere in the body
  • Certain medications
  • Occlusal problems (imbalances in the way your teeth bite together)


Visit a dentist who is experienced in the treatment of TMD.
At Shrawley House we have a special interest in TMD and Occlusion. We have spent many years studying these subjects both in this country and in the USA.

Over the years we have helped many people with these types of problems. We will carry out a specific examination looking at all the structures involved in moving the jaws so that we can diagnose your problem and formulate a treatment plan.

Treatment will vary from person to person depending on the diagnosis and cause of their problem. It may include a stabilisation appliance and if necessary counselling, relaxation therapy, medication, physiotherapy, self-awareness education, diet advice or occlusal (bite) correction.


Shrawley House Dental Practice 367 Worcester Road, Malvern, Worcestershire WR14 1AR t: 01684 572357