Do you suffer from chronic headaches? Dental problems may be causing your frequent headaches.
Bruxism, TMJ, and sleep apnea are all dental concerns that can cause headaches. Dr. Glen Wainwright treats chronic headaches in Austin, Texas. Oral appliance therapy is one of the most effective solutions in opening up the airways and keeping teeth from grinding together. Learn more about the dental causes of headaches as well as oral appliance therapy below:
Dental Causes of Headaches
There are many dental causes of headaches. Most of the time they are treatable with conservative methods. Some of the causes include:
- Toothaches. This is the most common cause of headaches. It can be due to inflammation or infection of a tooth, cracked or chipped teeth, a tooth abscesses, tooth decay, or an impacted wisdom tooth.
- Sinusitis. Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses, which can lead to headache pain in the forehead and temples. Sinusitis often occurs due to allergies, a cold, or flu-like symptoms.
- Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction. Headaches may be caused by TMJ dysfunction, which is characterized by pain in the jaw muscles and joints as well as problems with chewing, yawning, talking and other daily activities that involve movement of the jaw muscles.
- Migraine from teeth grinding. Migraine headaches are often accompanied by nausea and vomiting; they may also cause sensitivity to light (photophobia) and sound (phonophobia).
Dr. Wainwright and the team of Austin Dental Care can fix common causes of chronic headaches.
Teeth clenching and grinding, also known as bruxism, can occur during sleep or when patients feel stressed. Bruxism adds tension to the jaw joint and muscle. Tooth wear, TMJ, and headaches are just some of the dental problems that can arise from untreated bruxism. The pressure that jaw-grinding causes create painful headaches in the facial and head muscles. Dr. Wainwright can help you stop grinding your teeth with custom mouthguards and night guards.
Temporomandibular Joint Disfunction
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMD, is a condition that affects the alignment, function, and health of jaw muscles and joints. Patients with TMD may also experience painful symptoms in the facial area because of bruxism or a misaligned jaw. Patients with a malfunctioning jaw joint may experience chronic headaches. To learn more about treating TMJ issues, see TMJ Treatment.
Patients who frequently snore or wake up in the middle of the night to breathe may have sleep apnea. This condition occurs when the airway becomes blocked while sleeping, due to the collapse of soft tissues in the mouth. Patients with sleep apnea commonly wake with headaches due to oxygen deprivation. To learn more about sleep apnea treatments, see Sleep Apnea.
Gum disease is a chronic condition that can cause several health problems, including headaches. Headaches caused by gum disease are often described as throbbing in nature and are typically felt at the back of the head or neck. They may also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness or sensitivity to light. These headaches may be mistaken for migraines or tension headaches if they are not properly diagnosed as a result of a lack of awareness on how gum disease can impact your health. Learn more about gum disease, see Bleeding Gums.
Treatment with Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliances act similarly to a mouthguard. They keep top row teeth from touching bottom row teeth and grinding. You can wear oral appliances during the day or at night depending on your dental problem. This solution targets bruxism and TMJ by preventing teeth clenching and grinding. When worn at night, oral appliances keep the airway free so patients wake up feeling well-rested.
TMJ Headaches FAQs
How do you get rid of a headache from TMJ?
Most patients attempt to get rid of TMJ headaches by taking medication. These include aspirin (Excedrin), ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve). Another way to get rid of a TMJ headache is to ice your jaw.
Can TMJ cause headaches everyday?
Severe TMJ can cause headaches everyday, or multiple times a day. Patients often find that the side of their head that they have TMJ on has worse headaches.
Can TMJ affect your brain?
TMJ can affect your brain function. It causes chronic pain in your head, which can affect cognitive function. Some studies have shown that white matter in patients’ brains who have TMJ may undergo changes that people without TMJ do not have.
What does TMJ headache feel like?
A TMJ headache is an achy headache that is typically worse on one side (usually the side that the patient has TMJ on). Headaches from TMJ get worse as patients move their jaw.
Can dental work trigger headaches?
Yes, dental procedures may trigger headaches. This is largely due to having to open your mouth for an extended period of time during your dental visit. Your muscles get sore, and can cause jaw muscular soreness after dental work is complete.
Is it normal to have a headache after cavity filling?
Cavity fillings can cause headaches in patients. Although rare, the mercury in some filings can cause headaches. At our office we shy away from using mercury to fill cavities because of this issue.
Schedule a Dental Exam with our Dentist Today
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Wainwright on our website. You may also call Austin Dental Care at 512-518-6392. Dr. Wainwright is a dentist in Austin, Texas that has dedicated countless hours to provide the highest quality of care possible.