For many people, headaches are a common symptom of one or more dental issues, including teeth grinding, TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder or misalignment of the teeth. Ideally, the teeth, joints, muscles and nerves should all work together in proper alignment with the jaw. For some, however, the muscles are overworked due to bite issues. This causes the muscles to become tense, sore and tired. The constant strain on the jaw muscles from speaking and chewing food eventually leads to pain in the face, head, neck and shoulders.
Addressing the issue is the first task at hand. When was your last visit to see a dentist? If it has been six months or longer, we definitely suggest scheduling a time to get in for a routine dental check up, plus this way we can help pinpoint the cause of your headache and help you find the best method of treatment to alleviate your pain as soon as possible.
Schedule here or call 414-321-9900 to talk with our team, we are happy to help.
Symptoms of Dental-Related Headaches
There are telltale signs that your headaches are caused by your bite. Talk to your dentist if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms in combination with your headaches.
- Pain or tenderness in the face, behind the eyes, and in the jaw, neck or shoulders
- Sore jaw muscles or muscles that feel tired first thing in the morning
- Grinding your teeth, especially at night
- Clicking or popping sounds in the jaw joint (with or without pain) when opening or closing the mouth
- Chewing difficulty or a sudden uncomfortable bite
- A sensitive scalp or head that hurts when touched
Dental Treatments for Headaches
If you suspect that your headaches have a dental origin, then the first step is an evaluation with your dentist. Your dentist can examine your teeth, muscles and jaw joints to determine if stress or overuse caused by an underlying dental issue is the source of your head pain. Treatment will vary depending on the cause of your pain as well as the extent of your dental problem. Common types of treatment include:
Improper bite correction. An improper bite causes the jaw muscles to work harder than they need to. This puts stress on the jaw joint and surrounding muscles that help you bite, chew and speak. Correcting bite issues with braces or other orthodontic appliances can help release the extra tension on the jaw and muscles that are causing headaches.
Treatment for teeth grinding. Teeth grinding at night, or bruxism, can cause jaw pain and headaches due to the constant clenching of the jaw. Your dentist may recommend a custom-fitted night guard that is worn over the teeth during sleep to help distribute the tension from your clenched jaws and reduce the possibility of damage to your teeth.
Restoration dentistry. When teeth are damaged or missing, your bite is affected. This can result in extra jaw tension that leads to headaches. Dental crowns, implants and bridges are a few ways your dentist can restore your damaged teeth to decrease your jaw joint tension and chronic headaches.
Relaxation methods. For some people, physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture or simple relaxation techniques may be effective with or without additional dental treatment methods. These types of treatments aim to correct the posture of your neck, head and shoulder to alleviate extra strain causing your headaches.
Bottom line: Don’t overlook your teeth as a possible cause of headaches. Many headaches are linked to tension in the jaw and misaligned bites. We're happy to provide personal care and evaluate possible treatments for your pain.
“I love being involved in the community and connecting with my patients. It is very rewarding to be able to help them out of pain, regain their smile and improve their overall health.”
- Dr. Zachary Marshall, DDS
“Building a strong doctor-patient relationship with all my patients and understanding their needs is important to me. I strive to educate and advocate for preventative care within the community.”
- Dr. Linh Tran, DDS
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