How Your Dentist Could Help Cure Your Headaches
Headaches and jaw pain can be related—and your dentist can help.
If you suffer from frequent headaches, it’s possible that jaw pain could be triggering at least some of them.
Headaches, toothaches, and jaw pain all transmit through the same nerve, namely the trigeminal nerve. This is the largest nerve in the head, with branches serving the face, scalp, jaw, teeth, and many intra-oral structures. When one branch is activated by pain, other branches may activate as well. This is more likely to happen in individuals with chronic oral pain and/or a history of migraines. Some sufferers may get trapped in a feedback loop where oral pain and headache actually trigger one another in an ongoing process.
If you have both headaches and oral pain, it is a good idea to visit the dentist as well as your doctor. Your dentist can help tackle the problem from the oral health side with treatment options tailored to your specific dental problem.
Possible Treatment Options
Bruxism Treatment: Bruxism, or night grinding, can easily cause jaw pain because you will be clenching your jaw and holding your muscles tight all night long. Rather than continuing to wake up each morning in pain, ask your dentist to fit you with a night guard or splint to prevent you from grinding your teeth at night.
Orthodontics: If your bite is misaligned, this can cause stress to the jaw joint as well as a lot of tension on muscles involved in biting, chewing, and speaking. In some cases, the misalignment may be caused by poor posture—when you slouch, the skull moves back on the spinal column, the lower jaw shifts forward, and the teeth don’t match up properly. If this is the problem, it can be corrected by improving your posture. But in other cases, the teeth themselves are actually misaligned in the jaw. To correct this problem, orthodontic treatment will be needed.
Toothache Treatment: In the case of chronic oral pain caused by toothache, your dentist may be able to relieve your pain without necessarily having to extract your tooth. Instead, a root canal treatment may be used to clean out the infected and inflamed tissue and nerves within the painful tooth. The tooth can then be capped with a crown so that you can use it normally and without pain.
Need Help? Visit California Dental Group
If you would like to make an appointment to discuss jaw pain or toothache pain with one of our dentists, please contact the clinic location of your choice today.