Do you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines? Have you tried various medications and therapies and found no relief? There’s a solution you might not have tried and might not have even considered – visiting your dentist. Many people don’t realize but headaches and migraines can be symptoms of ailments such as dental infection to TMJ and more.
One of the most frequent causes of headaches is malocclusion, or a bad bite. Simply put having a bad bite in the dental world means one’s teeth do not fit or line up correctly. As a result, the muscles in your jaw continuously try to overcompensate for this imbalance leading to muscle strain that can cause headaches. Your dentist can correct a bad bite with a selection of different treatments such as braces, in turn helping to eliminate your headaches.
Another major cause of headaches is TMJD (or temporomandibular joint disorder). The temporomandibular join is the joint located in front of your earlobe where your upper and bottom jaw meet. TMJD occurs because of problems with this joint and its surrounding muscles that are often the result of some sort of injury – anything from a sports-related injury to a car accident to simply yawning too wide. Symptoms of TMJD include pain in the jaw, popping/clicking sensation, and difficulty opening or closing your mouth. Since TMJD affects the jaw muscles and facial nerves it can also result in headaches. And while TMJD can will often go away on its own with a bit of rest, ibuprofen, and warm compresses, if you’re having chronic headaches and suspect this might be the culprit, you should definitely see your dentist ASAP.
Headaches can also often be caused by bruxism or grinding of the teeth. This one you may not even realize you’re doing as many people are nighttime teeth grinders. Grinding your teeth puts major pressure on your jaw and, in turn, that pressure can travel up to your head causing headaches. If you consistently have headaches in the morning after awaking this could be reason but the fix is easy. Wearing a night guard while you sleep will keep you from clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth, thus lessening the occurrence of morning time headaches. (BTW, we can help with this! =)
Finally, tooth decay puts you at risk for brain/head pains. When tooth decay reaches the pulp of the tooth, it can cause severe pain and migraines. If you’ve ruled out other causes for your migraines, checking your teeth for cavities and infection never hurts. A root canal will easily fix the issue and you’ll be on your way to a pain-free life once again!
Headaches come in several forms and sizes. If you’re bothered by them be sure to make your dentist a part of your treatment team. They may easily be able to fix the problem where others can’t!
Have questions for us about the effects of dentistry on headaches? Ready to make an appointment to see if we can help rid you of your chronic migraines? Give us a call today!