Do you suffer from frequent headaches? Your pain may be caused or triggered by a problem with your jaw. Dr. Alice Charland Bassford, your Silver Spring, MD dentist, explains how you can benefit from headache and migraine treatment that targets jaw issues.
Your headaches may be due to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). TMJ affects the hinge joints in your jaw just below your ear. Muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons in the joints work together to allow you to open and close your mouth. If there's a problem with the functioning of any of these structures, pain, stiffness and headaches can occur.
TMJ can result in tight muscles that can cause tension headaches. Grinding or clenching your teeth at night can make the problem worse. TMJ symptoms can also occur if your bite is off. Your bite is the way your teeth fit together. Bite problems can stress your jaw joints, which can eventually cause headaches.
TMJ headaches can be so bad that they're mistaken for migraines, but the problem can also trigger migraines, particularly if your trigeminal and occipital nerves are stressed. Strained muscles in your face and head can interfere with blood flow, which can increase blood pressure and cause migraines.
Signs TMJ may be to blame for your headaches
It may not always be obvious that TMJ is the reason you experience frequent headaches, but you may notice a few signs that may indicate that you have the problem, such as:
- Waking up with a stiff jaw due to clenching or grinding your teeth at night
- Facial swelling
- Tightness in your neck and shoulders
- Pain in your face, ear and jaw joints
- Trouble opening your mouth completely
- Temporary or permanent locking of your jaw
- Clicking or popping sounds when you eat or open or close your mouth
- Bite problems
How can a Silver Spring dentist help me?
Your dentist offers different treatment options for headache pain caused by TMJ. She may recommend occlusal splints, soft plastic devices that are worn over your teeth at night. Wearing a splint prevents grinding or clenching and reduces jaw tension. If your pain is caused by a bite problem, she may recommend that you realign your teeth with braces.
Don't let headaches take over your life. Dr. Bassford, your Silver Spring, MD dentist, offers headache and migraine treatment that can reduce your pain. Call (301) 593-5500 to make an appointment.