Most people suffer from headaches at some point in their life. However, frequent headaches can sometimes be a sign that something is wrong. If you suffer from headaches every day, especially when you wake up in the morning, you could have a Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD). Physicians often overlook or misdiagnose TMJ headaches. Chapel Hill dentist Dr. Furgurson has special experience diagnosing and treating patients with frequent headaches.
Dr. Furgurson provides dental treatment for TMJ headaches and migraines. TMJ disorders are bite disorders that often occur when patients are under stress. Jaw pain, teeth grinding, and headaches are common problems associated with TMD. Constant strain on the facial muscles, jaw, and TMJ contributes to regular headaches. Treating the root cause of these headaches can reduce their frequency and severity.
How Frequent Headaches Relate To Dentistry
One of the more common symptoms that patients with TMJ disorders share is frequent headaches. These “TMJ headaches” often occur in the morning as a result of clenching the jaw and grinding the teeth during sleep. Also, the simple fact that your jaw has to strain to bite the right way can lead to these headaches.
Other signs that you may have TMJ headaches are:
- Facial pain (often in the temple region or sides of the face)
- Pain in the neck or older shoulders
- Migraines or headaches
- Earache or feeling of fullness in the ears
There are several contributing factors to the development of TMJ disorders. Stress, anxiety, crooked teeth, and a misaligned bite can worsen or cause TMD. Treating these problems can help reduce the frequency of headaches and other symptoms.
TMJ Headache Therapy
If you suspect that a TMJ disorder, teeth grinding, misaligned teeth, or other dental problems may be causing your headaches, the first step is an evaluation with our dentist. Dr. Furgurson will review your dental and medical history. Then, he will examine your bite’s fit and the TMJ alignment.
Depending on your condition, the dentist may suggest one or several treatments. Treatment may include an oral appliance, such as a TMJ mouthguard. It may also include bite correction therapy, which would solve problems with the alignment of teeth and TMJ. Lifestyle changes and physical therapy can also help reduce headaches from TMD.
Treatments for chronic TMJ headaches in Chapel Hill, NC, can include:
TMJ Night Guard
A custom removable appliance that you wear during sleep. This treatment aims to reduce or prevent teeth grinding and clenching, reducing morning headaches. A TMJ night guard covers the upper or lower teeth to provide a barrier between teeth. This barrier also prevents tooth wear and damage.
Headaches often result from an unbalanced bite. Dr. Furgurson can solve this issue through a series of adjustments, bringing the teeth into proper alignment. Depending on your condition, this treatment may include reshaping the teeth, orthodontics, and restorative dentistry.
Tooth reshaping can create a more even bite. The same is true for fixing crooked teeth. We may recommend crowns, bridges, or implants if you have damaged or missing teeth. Replacing missing teeth or fixing worn and damaged teeth can also adjust the bite.
If you experience morning headaches due to teeth grinding, relaxing before sleep can help reduce the chance of headaches. Sometimes, eating soft foods for some time can reduce strain on the facial muscles and jaw.
Relaxing your jaw can reduce tension in your face. To relax your jaw, gently put the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth. When you notice you’re clenching your teeth or jaw, relax your jaw into this position.
In addition to dental care, we recommend physical therapy if you have TMD. A physical therapist will use heat and massage to help relax your facial muscles The physical therapist will also help you learn exercises and relaxation techniques to reduce stress in the face and jaw.
Frequent Headaches FAQs
Learn more about frequent headaches with answers to these common questions:
What dental problems can cause headaches?
Teeth grinding and TMJ are the most common causes of dental headaches. They can make you clench your jaw, and your jaw muscles become tight. These symptoms cause tension in the jaw and face. As a result, it causes frequent headaches.
Are there other dental issues that can cause headaches?
Yes. Tooth decay and gum disease can cause infections in the mouth that can also lead to headaches. The best way to avoid these is to continue a strict oral hygiene routine at home. Additionally, you should visit your dentist every six months for proper cleaning.
However, please know that not all headaches are from dental problems. Please contact your general practitioner if you have headaches that are not dental-related.
How long do headaches last after dental work?
Sometimes, patients can have a headache after dental work. This is often true after tooth extractions. Most patients report that this goes away after a few days once the area begins to heal. It depends on what procedure you receive and the extent of work.
Are headaches normal after dental implants?
Some patients may experience headaches after they get dental implants. While these headaches are not common, they are not unheard of. If you are experiencing headaches for an extended time after implants are placed, contact our dentist. We recommend a follow-up to be sure nothing is infected. If you have an infection at the implant site, you may experience chronic headaches.
Contact our Office To Relieve Pain
Do you have frequent headaches, jaw pain, or tooth pain? You may have a bite problem. Make your next dental visit with Dr. Furgurson or Dr. White in our Durham area dentist’s office. Our dentist will evaluate your bite system and discuss your overall health and lifestyle. This evaluation will find the root cause of your pain.
Call Chapel Hill Family and Cosmetic Dentistry for comfortable treatment today at 919.736.6175. Feel free to schedule an appointment online. We’re here to help treat your frequent TMJ headaches in Chapel Hill, NC.