That Pain isn’t all in your Head
- Posted on: Mar 30 2017
Headaches and migraines are common, chronic problems that affect millions of adults in our country. When pain is persistent and frequent, everything from a person’s ability to focus at work to his or her ability to enjoy time with family and friends is diminished. Head pain may occur for a number of reasons. One that can easily be overlooked is dysfunction in the jaw caused by bruxism.
Bruxism is a fancy term for grinding and clenching the teeth. This “habit” is shared by a large majority of people, and many of those who do it are not even aware of it. The nightly grinding that goes on, though, manifests as pain, or as tooth erosion. It may even present itself as chronic migraines, ear pain, or ringing in the ears.
The Link between Headaches and the Jaw
Just as when you chew, the muscles around the temporomandibular joints contract when you clench or grind absentmindedly (or while you sleep). The chronic tension across the structures of the jaw extends to the muscles that wrap around the head and neck, which is why many people with TMJ disorder express a primary complaint of headaches or migraines.
To put a stop to the pain, we must put a stop to the grinding. This can be a real challenge due to the fact that bruxism is a subconscious act. Rather than ending bruxism altogether, what we may start with is a full bite assessment. Perhaps the fact that teeth are not meeting is causing physical distress. We also move to reduce the pressure on muscles and joints. This is done with a custom-fit oral appliance placed over teeth before sleep.
If you struggle to control headaches, it is a good idea to visit your dentist. What many people rely on for their chronic headaches is medication. Medication is only intended to reduce pain; it does nothing to address the cause of that pain. Trained in aspects of neuromuscular dentistry, Dr. Gill can evaluate the TMJs and other structures of the jaw, as well as the bite, to determine if the cause of headache pain is located here.
Would you like to put an end to chronic pain, or mitigate the risks of bruxism before they cause discomfort? Contact your Golden dentist at (303) 277-9600.
Posted in: Bruxism