August 15, 2016
You keep taking aspirin, but it hasn’t done much to relieve your headache today … well, all week, really.
You have been waking up with headaches more frequently. It seems like every day for the past few weeks. You don’t know exactly when the problem started, but you know that it’s been going on for a few months.
At this point, you just want some relief, and you know that over-the-counter pain relievers aren’t much help. Believe it or not, your headaches may be caused by a problem with your jaw.
To find out, schedule a visit at Community Shores Dental. Our dentists serve Norton Shores and the surrounding areas of Michigan.
The Source Of Your Headaches
Headaches, including migraines, are a common symptom of TMJ disorders. TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. You actually have two of these joints. They are ball-and-socket joints, and they allow you to open and close your mouth.
A TMJ disorder can create a number of problems, and unfortunately, many of them involve pain. In addition to headaches, here are some other common TMJ symptoms:
- Soreness in and around your jaw
- Lingering jaw pain
- Jaw pain while you are eating or after you finish eating
- Frequent earaches
- Pain in your face, neck, or shoulders
- Inability to completely open or close your mouth
- Inability to move your jaw (usually temporary)
If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms on a regular basis, call us so we can take a closer look at your jaw.
Why TMJ Disorders Develop
TMJ issues can arise for a number of reasons.
Arthritis, injuries, and infections are some of the things that can contribute to a TMJ disorder. Another common problem is bruxism — teeth grinding.
Before you say, “I don’t grind my teeth,” please keep in mind that many people do this without realizing it’s happening.
A typical human bite can generate 200 to 250 pounds of pressure. Someone who grinds his or her teeth can generate 500 pounds of pressure or more. As you can imagine, that can be hard on your jaw and the surrounding tissues.
When you are awake, this may be something you do as a subconscious reaction to stress. Did your boss dump a last-minute assignment on you? Are you and your spouse having a disagreement about a big decision? Are you having some financial issues? Any or all of these things can cause stress.
Teeth grinding doesn’t always happen when you are awake, either. Millions of Americans grind their teeth in their sleep. If you are one of them, this may explain why you have been noticing headaches and other TMJ symptoms in the morning.
What You Can Try At Home
In some cases, TMJ problems are temporary, and you may be able to manage them with some small changes.
Eating softer foods for a short period of time may help your jaw recover from the pain you have been experiencing.
Applying moist heat to your jaw can relieve pain and improve mobility of the joint. Cold packs can reduce swelling and numb pain as well.
Stress management can be an important component of your home care. Exercise, deep breathing exercises, and therapy can be helpful in finding new ways to cope with the stress in your life.
If those efforts don’t provide the relief you are seeking, know that we are here to help.
Get Help With TruDenta®
At Community Shores Dental, we offer TruDenta treatment. This can alleviate your TMJ symptoms, including your headaches.
This treatment method takes a comprehensive approach to provide a long-term solution for you.
We will conduct a bite analysis to see where you are putting pressure on your jaw. If you previously received dental work, we may check the alignment or see if something has changed. We will evaluate your range of motion as well.
We also want to know the history of your headaches. We will check for trigger points. These are knots and bands in the muscle tissue.
If we are able to confirm that you have been grinding your teeth, we may be able to treat this problem by creating a special mouthpiece for you.
This mouthpiece is something that you can wear at night. It will prevent your top and bottom teeth from touching each other (so no clenching or grinding). It also trains your jaw to rest in a position that is more relaxing and puts less pressure on your TMJ.
Banish Your Headaches
If you are ready to wake up feeling refreshed instead of in pain, contact our Michigan dentist office to find out if TruDenta could help you. Just call 231-366-4182 or fill out our online form to make your appointment. The sooner your start, the sooner your headaches can end.