Headaches can be caused by stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, neurological disorders, etc. What many don’t consider as a cause, though, is dental problems.
Frequent or constant headaches, particularly experienced when you wake up in the morning, may be a result of dysfunction in the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), the joints on the side of your mouth that open and close your mouth. TMJ headaches are often misdiagnosed by health practitioners.
About TMJ Dysfunction
TMJ dysfunction can be caused by a number of things, including arthritis, dislocation, injury, tooth and jaw alignment, or stress and teeth grinding. TMJ dysfunction causes a range of concerns and symptoms including worn or damaged teeth, discomfort in the jaw, and frequent headaches.
TMJ dysfunction causes symptoms that can range from temporary to long-lasting. Most common in patients between the ages of 20 and 40, and more common in women than in men, here are some symptoms that if you experience, you should make an appointment:
- Pain in the face, particularly around the ear when you chew, open or close your mouth, or speak
- Limited ability to open your mouth
- Jaws that ‘stick’, ‘click’, or ‘pop’, when you open or close your mouth
- Difficulty chewing or the feeling that the upper and lower jaw are not fitting together
- Swelling on one or both sides of the face
Treatment for TMJ Dysfunction
While most patients will benefit from an evaluation and appropriate dental treatment, there are lifestyle changes that can reduce the severity of symptoms and complement your treatment for a more lasting and effective result. Many people find relief from symptoms through a softer diet, avoiding chewing or biting nails, using a heat pack, or practicing stress management through exercise, meditation, and other relaxation techniques.
Dr. Sheen will thoroughly evaluate all aspects of your bite before recommending treatment to reduce pain and restore your dental health. Options can include:
Night-Guards or Splint-Guards
Mouth guards are plastic mouth pieces that fit over the upper and lower teeth. Mouth guards are used to lessen the effects of grinding or clenching and attempt to correct the bite by positioning the teeth correctly.
Bite Correction Procedures
If problems persist, Dr. Sheen is able to perform a bite correction procedure to treat TMJ dysfunction. This often includes replacing missing teeth or inserting crowns or veneers, allowing the teeth to make proper contact.
If you suffer from frequent headaches, make an appointment with Dr. Sheen of Annapolis. A consultation and recommendation for treatments could correct your headaches forever.