Headache Q & A
How are my headaches related to dental problems?
Tension headaches typically develop from muscle strain radiating from the jaw and mouth. If your teeth and jaw aren’t properly aligned, that muscle strain can result in constant tension headaches, especially during times of stress. There are many oral health problems that can cause headaches, including:
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
TMJ is the most common cause of headaches in patients whose chronic headaches stem from an oral health problem. While you may notice pain in your jaw or a clicking sound when you chew, you may not realize you have TMJ until you start experiencing dull tension headaches.
Though less common than TMJ, a tooth infection can cause a variety of symptoms, including headaches. If you have a cavity or tooth infection, pain can radiate throughout your mouth, neck, and head, leading to a persistent tension headache. That’s why it’s important to schedule a routine cleaning every six months or so at The Diablo Dental Group.
Is TMJ causing my headaches?
TMJ affects more than 10 million Americans alone, but most people don’t realize they have the disorder until it begins affecting their day-to-day activities, such as work, eating, and sleeping. Some of the most common symptoms of TMJ include:
Clicking or popping in the jaw
Jaw pain and soreness
Pain when opening the jaw too wide
Constant clenching or teeth grinding
Ringing in the ears
In most cases, TMJ worsens during times of stress and does not get better on its own without proper treatment.
What are my treatment options?
Your TMJ treatment depends on the cause of your disorder. The most common causes of TMJ are:
Malocclusion occurs when your teeth simply do not fit together properly, leading to a misalignment problem in your bite. This misalignment can put strain on the jaw over time. To correct your bite and alleviate jaw pain, the dentists at The Diablo Dental Group offers dental crowns and resurfacing options, which improve your bite and help your teeth fit more properly together when you chew.
Also known as teeth grinding, bruxism can wear your teeth down over time, leading to problems in your bite. Like malocclusion, teeth grinding ultimately puts stress on your temporomandibular joint, causing constant pain and jaw strain. The Diablo Dental Group team can help by creating a customized orthotic to separate your upper and lower teeth at night and prevent them from grinding any further.
Headaches caused by oral health problems are not likely to resolve themselves on their own. To ease pain and discomfort, call The Diablo Dental Group or book an appointment online today.