It might surprise you to learn that many headache sufferers could find relief by discussing it with their dentist. Pain centered in the nerves and muscles running throughout the face and neck, along with adopting poor habits from the discomfort, can get sufferers trapped in a painful link, head pain sparking jaw and neck pain and jaw and neck pain triggering head pain.
Both headaches and toothaches are transferred through the trigeminal nerve, the largest sensory nerve in the head. Pain in one area of the nerve can potentially stimulate other aspects of the nerve. If the pain is chronic and persistent, it is likely to prompt a sequence of pain.
In addition to the close anatomical ties, reflexive behaviors caused by pain and tension like clenching your jaw and muscle tightening, can also exacerbate and transfer pain. When a patient clenches or grinds their teeth for long periods of time it can be difficult for a physician to decipher the cause of the pain, but a dentist with a trained eye for the causes of orofacial pain can generally make sense of the problem.
Another cause of headaches can come from your teeth not fitting together properly. It can create problems not only in the teeth themselves, but also in the gums, the temporo-mandibular joint – the muscles that move your jaw. These problems are called ‘occlusal’ problems. Dental occlusion is another name for the way your teeth meet when your jaws bite together.
When teeth are out of line, heavily worn or constantly breaking, fillings that fracture or crowns that come loose may all be signs of occlusal problems. Sometimes teeth may be tender to bite on or may even ache constantly.
Another common cause of headaches are wisdom teeth. As wisdom teeth slowly develop, they can have some potentially painful effects. With diminished room to grow, wisdom teeth create natural tension which can spread from your gums, into your jaw, and across other areas of your body.
Headaches can be a result of tension and irregular pressure in your jaw as wisdom teeth grow. It can result in what dentists sometimes refer to as a “gum pouch,” a small, painful pouch that ensues due to an infection from a wisdom tooth trying to come through.
This can force your jaw position and your bite to change in an attempt to avoid pain. While adjusting your jaw position may save you from biting down on a swollen and painful gum pocket, you may be unknowingly causing further harm.
Unfortunately, headaches don’t always have physical signs, and diagnosis is related to the history and pattern of the pain. Determining the cause of your headaches is the first step to finally alleviating the source of constant grief. Once you know the cause, appropriate treatment options can be established.
American Dental Group partners with local, hometown dentists up and down the Front Range. Thanks to our pre-negotiated discounts, ADG members can receive dental care at lower out-of-pocket costs than with even the best dental insurance.
With ADG’s discount dental plan, members have no annual maximums, no deductibles, and no waiting periods.
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