Nearly everyone has had a headache at some point, but for about half of us, it’s an occasional nuisance. Unfortunately, for about 52% of people throughout the world, those headaches are part of a headache disorder.
There are many triggers for headaches, including dietary triggers, allergies, tight hairstyles, bright lights 一 and the list goes on.
Our team here at The Woodlands Dental Group in The Woodlands, Texas, wants you to know about another potential cause of headaches: jaw issues.
Here’s what you need to know.
Your jaw is attached to your skull by way of your temporomandibular joints (TMJs), which are complex hinge joints. If undue pressure is put on these joints — such as through jaw clenching or teeth grinding — this can create tension in the joints and muscles that support your jaw.
But, this tension can radiate to other muscles, including muscles in your cheeks, the sides of your head, and the top of your head. And this can be a perfect recipe for headaches.
Other jaw issues, including osteoarthritis in your jaw, joint hypermobility, or even osteoporosis, can also cause headaches.
So how do you know if these jaw issues are causing your headaches? You might suspect that your headaches are related to jaw issues if:
As with any recurring headaches, it’s helpful to keep a headache journal. Take note of the days you have headaches, the time of day your headache starts, and jot down any other symptoms you experience.
The best bet for alleviating a TMJ-related headache is addressing the underlying cause of your jaw issue. TMJ pain can be caused by jaw clenching, teeth grinding, misaligned teeth, chronic gum chewing, arthritis, and other issues.
David Epstein, DDS, and Nikita Vakil, DMD, formulate your TMJ treatment plan based on the root cause of your jaw issue. That’s why we always start with a thorough examination, a review of your symptoms, a bite assessment, and a review of any dental X-ray images. Together, this information can help us determine the source of your jaw issue.
Once we know what’s causing your jaw issue, we can formulate a treatment plan. For instance, if misaligned teeth are the cause, we may recommend orthodontic treatment. We offer orthodontic treatment with a clear aligner system, which is ideal for treating mild to moderate orthodontic issues.
Or, if teeth grinding is the cause of your TMJ-related headaches, we may suggest a night guard. This oral device fits over your teeth and stops your teeth from grinding while you sleep. Not only does this address your jaw pain and headaches, wearing a nightguard can also help prevent other complications of teeth grinding, such as chipped teeth.
The bottom line is that treating your jaw issues may help remedy your headaches, and we’re here to help you get the relief you need.
To see if jaw issues could be causing your headaches, and to get treatment if they are, call 281-367-3085 to book an appointment with The Woodlands Dental Group today.