Frequent Headaches: What could be the cause?

Did you know that people who suffer from frequent headaches may be able to get some relief by visiting the dentist?

That’s right. Some causes of headaches originate with problems in the jaw, and they can be treated by the best dentists in Carrollton.

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, a category of issues with the jaw joint, can be the culprit in headaches. In fact, after jaw pain, headaches may be the second most common symptom of TMJ disorders.

The jaw is a complex structure, composed of various bones, tendons and muscles. Its many components must work together to ensure that the jaw can move vertically and laterally as needed for chewing and speaking.

When any of the jaw’s elements isn’t functioning properly, a TMJ disorder can result, leading to pain throughout the jaw and face, including headaches. TMJ disorders are diagnosed through a visual examination, discussion of your symptoms and x-rays.

Your dentist can use a number of interventions to treat your TMJ and reduce the frequency of your headaches. Medications, such as painkillers, corticosteroids and muscle relaxants, may be helpful. A bite guard can also help your jaw maintain the proper positioning as you sleep.

Your dentist may also suggest behavior modifications and stress management techniques to control your TMJ and the headaches that result from it.

For some patients, eliminating TMJ-induced headaches may mean correcting a malocclusion (“bad bite”) that underlies the disorder. The dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment in such cases.

If your TMJ does not respond to these less aggressive measures, your dentist may recommend a surgical procedure. However, that approach is very rare for TMJ patients.

Bruxism, or grinding of the teeth, may also cause headaches. When patients grind their teeth during sleep, they are unaware of the condition, which makes it seem as though the headaches are coming from nowhere.

Some treatments for bruxism, such as stress management and behavioral therapy, are similar to those for TMJ disorders. Many patients with bruxism find that their symptoms abate when they wear a mouthguard or splint while sleeping. Those devices can protect the teeth in addition to lowering the likelihood of headaches.

If you’ve been experiencing headaches and you can’t pinpoint the cause, contact one of our dentists serving Carrollton to schedule an evaluation for TMJ disorder or bruxism.