Headaches can stop you in your tracks. If you suffer from chronic headaches, it is likely that you have tried everything to stop the pain. Getting to the root of your pain can help you identify a better way to treat your headaches. If you need help with headaches, you should consider talking to your dentist. A dental issue can cause your headaches.
What Is Causing My Pain?
There are several things that can cause your headaches. When you consult your dentist, they should be able to help you sort through potential reasons. This will help you identify treatment options.
If you have tooth pain, it could be contributing to your headaches. When you have pain in your teeth, it can cause a headache. This is because the largest nerve in your head—the trigeminal nerve—can connect tooth pain to a headache. When you have tooth pain, it can irritate the trigeminal nerve, triggering a headache. This can happen if you have a large cavity, a cracked or damaged tooth, or an infection.
TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder)
Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, is a condition that affects the jaw. There are a variety of things that can cause TMJ; however, there is no one set reason. Whether it is a bite problem, arthritis, or a traumatic injury, TMJ reduces the effectiveness of the jaw joint.
TMJ is a dysfunction of the joints, ligaments, or muscles in the jaw. The jaw joint is responsible for a sliding or hinging motion that allows the mouth to open and close.
In mild cases, TMJ creates a popping or clicking sound in the joint. While this may not cause any significant discomfort, it can be annoying. In more severe cases, you can experience extreme pain when eating, speaking, or sleeping. In fact, the joint can “freeze,” making it difficult or impossible to open and close your mouth.
Pain in the jaw can cause pain in the head. Additionally, TMJ can cause tension in the muscles of the jaw and face, which can contribute to headaches.
If you have TMJ, your dentist may recommend a mouthguard, anti-inflammatory medication, or physical therapy.
Another condition that can contribute to headaches is bruxism. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a condition in which a person grinds their teeth or clenches their jaw. Typically, this behavior happens at night while a person is asleep, which is why they may not be aware of it.
However, some people clench their teeth to deal with stress, anxiety, or anger. Regardless of the reason, grinding your teeth can cause serious damage.
Over time, bruxism can destroy your enamel. Because you increase the wear and tear on your teeth, the enamel erodes much faster than normal. This can contribute to an increase in tooth decay. Additionally, the extra stress can cause your teeth and jaw to become sore, which can cause a headache.
When you increase the stress on your teeth and jaw, it creates tension along your jaw. These muscles can become sore and overworked. Unfortunately, this can spark a tension headache.
For treatment, your dentist may recommend a custom mouthguard.