Millions of Americans suffer from migraine headaches. If you’re one of them, it’s easy to quickly reach for the aspirin to relieve your pain. But did you know that dental problems could be to blame for your migraines and headaches? Believe it or not, studies have shown a strong connection between dental health and migraine headaches. Even seemingly slight dental issues –– like an abnormal bite –– can lead to annoying headaches. Treatments for migraine headaches could be as simple as a visit to your general dentist for an exam. Read on to determine if dental problems may be causing your headaches, and learn how your dentist could play a role in relieving your head pain.
Connection Between Dental Issues and Migraine Headaches
Some patients who suffer from chronic migraines and head pain have found that treatment for dental problems can help to reduce or eliminate their migraines altogether. Stress can cause nighttime teeth clenching, which can lead to a headache when you wake up in the morning.
An abnormal bite or tooth misalignment can also cause teeth grinding and lead to headaches, and an underlying infection in the tooth or gums may be another culprit. If left untreated, a dental infection can cause neck and jaw pain. Fortunately, root canal therapy can eliminate the infection and relieve any tooth or head pain you may be experiencing from the infection.
The most common dental reason for headaches and migraines, though, includes problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
Consider seeing you general dentist if you experience any of the symptoms below:
- Popping or clicking noises in your jaw when you open and close your mouth
- You’ve noticed that your teeth don’t fit together properly anymore
- Your jaw tends to lock up or become stiff
- Your headaches or migraines happen more often in the morning than any other time
- Discomfort while chewing gum
- Grinding or clicking sound in your jaw
- Headaches centered in the back of the neck or temples
- Frequent pain in the trapezius or upper shoulder muscle
Dental Treatments for Migraine Headaches
When trying to determine if dental treatments might help with your headaches, your dentist will first examine the jaws for signs of TMJ disorder. If the jaws have shifted or become improperly aligned, pain can be a result and ultimately the source of your headaches or migraines.
Your dentist will take x-rays to view the jawbone and any abnormalities in the facial muscles. Once your problem has been determined, there are a few ways to treat it. You might benefit from a treatment as simple as wearing a night guard to bed or using a corrective mouthpiece. As many as 70-80% of patients report having fewer headaches after using an oral appliance like a night guard, and chances are that you’ll benefit as well.
Unfortunately, treatments aren’t always so easy. Patients sometimes require oral reconstructive surgery to correct the dental issue and relieve your headaches once and for all. But don’t worry –– your dentist will discuss your problem and lay out all the possible treatments.
If you experience frequent headaches, there’s no reason to continue suffering in silence. Visit your general dentist to determine if dental problems such as TMJ may be to blame for your headaches. Your dentist may suggest a simple solution to eliminate the headaches for good.
As we mentioned above, underlying infections of the tooth or gum are sometimes the culprit for migraine headaches. If you’re diagnosed with an infection that requires root canal therapy, our team of endodontists is here to help. Here at Endodontic Specialists of Colorado, our mission is to restore the health of your teeth and give you a beautiful, pain-free smile for years to come. We’re conveniently located in Pueblo and Colorado Springs. Contact us today to schedule your evaluation and learn how we can restore your smile and relieve your headaches!