If you experience frequent headaches but can’t pinpoint the cause, consider talking to your dentist. It’s not uncommon for unexplained head pain to be caused by dental problems such as an unstable bite or injury to the jaw joint. At McLean DDS, we can help you identify the underlying cause of your headaches and find the relief you need to put your headache pain to rest once and for all.
The Link Between Headaches and Your Oral Health
If you experience frequent tension headaches, the source of pain may be your mouth.
Common reasons for dental-related headaches include:
- Poor bite: An unstable bite, or malocclusion, occurs when the surfaces of your upper and lower teeth don’t align properly when you bite. This imbalance places tension on the jaw muscles, which can result in pain that radiates throughout the head.
- Teeth grinding: Chronic teeth grinding and clenching of the jaw is known as bruxism. Most people with bruxism experience a headache and sore jaw first thing in the morning due to grinding teeth during sleep.
- Jaw disorders: Your headaches may be a result of TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder, which occurs when there is a problem with the jaw and its surrounding muscles. When these joints become injured or strained, the surrounding muscles work overtime to compensate, which can cause chronic pain in the shoulders, ears and head.
- Infected teeth: Tooth decay and dental abscesses cause more than tooth pain. Untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the body and lead to nagging pain in the jaw, face and head.
Put Your Headaches to Rest
To relieve dental-related headaches, McLean DDS provides corrective treatments for headache pain caused by tooth infections, malocclusion, TMJ and bruxism.
Treatment may include one or a combination of the following:
- Mouth guards: A specialized mouth guard or splint can be worn to prevent uncontrollable teeth grinding and jaw clenching at night that causes headaches and jaw pain.
- Orthodontics: Orthodontic treatment, such as braces or jaw expanders to correct misaligned bites, can help relieve stress on the jaw joints and muscles that aid in chewing, speaking and biting.
- Toothache treatment: If your headaches are caused by an infected tooth, your dentist may recommend a crown, filling or root canal treatment to eliminate the inflamed tissue or nerves within the tooth. In extreme cases, severely infected teeth may need to be extracted. By resolving the tooth pain, you can simultaneously eliminate headaches and restore the tooth to its normal function. Regular dental cleanings and checkups can also help reduce these risks.
Whether you’re dealing with occasional mild headaches or chronic migraines, it is important to let your dentist know about your symptoms. At McLean DDS, we can examine your teeth and jaw to determine whether dental stress is the source of your chronic pain.
In many cases, a combination of reducing stress, nighttime mouth guards, orthodontics and other noninvasive dental treatments can help alleviate the headaches caused by these issues.