Could A Dentist Treat Your Headache Problem?Monday, August 8th, 2016
Everyone gets headaches from time to time, but yours seem to be happening more frequently. In fact, you’ve woken up with a headache every day for the past week.
You also have noticed that your jaw hurts sometimes, too.
Most mornings, you have been able to take a dose of an over-the-counter pain reliever to alleviate the pain.
You know that things have been stressful at work lately. Your department is short-staffed, and you have been assigned more work than you ever have (but no extra time to get it done).
Finding a way to relieve that stress would probably help, but you may want to make an appointment with Advanced Smile Arts, too. Your headache along with the jaw pain suggests that you may be dealing with more than just stress, and our dentist may be able to help if you live in or near Danville, IL.
Could It Be A TMJ Problem?
Headaches can develop for a countless number of reasons, so having a headache in and of itself is not a reason to think you have a TMJ problem.
Along with headaches, people with TMJ disorders may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Frequent earaches
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Facial pain
- Lingering jaw pain
- Jaw pain while eating or shortly after eating
- Clicking or popping sounds when opening or closing your jaw
- Jaw mobility issues
Jaw mobility problems could include an inability to fully open or close your jaw, a limited range of motion of your jaw, or temporary not being able to move your jaw at all.
None of these symptoms are necessarily TMJ. However, if you are experiencing one or more of them on a regular basis, then it’s worth making time to talk to our dentist, Dr. Fuesting.
Why You May Have A TMJ Problem
Stress can certainly contribute to TMJ disorders. One of the ways that many people respond to stress is by grinding their teeth together.
This often is a subconscious or even unconscious act. Millions of Americans clench and grind their teeth without realizing they are doing it. Many people who do this are doing it in their sleep.
If you think about it, that could mean that you are grinding your teeth together for hours overnight. That would certainly explain your morning headaches and subsequent jaw pains.
An average human bite creates between 200 and 250 pounds of force. Researchers have regularly recorded people who grind their teeth, and they have found this can generate 500 pounds of pressure or more.
As you might expect, that extra pressure is not good for your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or the tissues around it.
Teeth grinding isn’t the only cause of TMJ issues. Arthritis, illness, and injuries can affect your jaw as well, and it’s certainly possible that more than one of these issues are contributing to your TMJ disorder.
What You Can Do
If you suspect stress may be a contributing factor, then you should try to find a way to alleviate that stress.
Some people do that with exercise. Other people set aside time to do breathing exercises or meditation. Some people find that talking to a therapist helps, too.
The pain relievers can provide temporary relief as can moist heat or cold treatments. Moist heat can help to improve jaw mobility, while cold can numb the pain and reduce swelling.
If you have pain during or after meals, then you may want to try eating softer foods for a short time to see if that helps.
If your problems continue, then we would urge you to make an appointment at Advanced Smile Arts. Our dentist will check your teeth for signs of wear that indicate grinding, and he can examine the alignment of your jaw.
He may recommend a nightguard. This is a mouthguard that you wear while you sleep. It keeps your teeth separated (so you can’t grind them) and keeps your jaw in a more relaxed position.
This can alleviate the added pressure that you are putting on your TMJ. With time, you may notice that your symptoms are becoming less severe and less common.
Don’t Live In Pain
You are going to have headaches from time to time. That’s part of life. That does not mean you should be suffering from headaches every day.
If you have any concern that your headache could be related to a TMJ disorder, then you should make an appointment at our dentist office in Danville, IL. You can use our online form or you can call 217-703-4536.
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