A regular visit to your dentist can involve much more than just checking for cavities. Your dentist can also help you determine why you might be experiencing other issues such as headaches.
Tension headaches usually come from muscle strain that develop in the jaw and mouth. Your dentist can see if the strain is the result of your jaw not biting down correctly. If your jaw or teeth aren’t aligned properly, that can lead to the muscle strain that eventually causes headaches. A treatment plan including orthodontic work such as braces or oral surgery may be recommended.
In addition, a misalignment might be making you grind your teeth at night, in your sleep. This grinding, also known as bruxism, might be why you wake up with a headache in the morning. Even some habits you don’t pay attention to can lead to headaches such as chewing on a pencil or biting your nails. Treatment for bruxism usually involves using a mouthguard while sleeping to prevent your teeth from grinding against each other. Bruxism can also be treated by incorporating stress-reduction behaviors to help you relax and better manage your anxiety.
Another lead cause of headaches is TMJ, a joint disorder that affects the jaw joints, muscles and facial nerves. TMJ can be very painful if not treated, but many cases go away over time. It is important to visit your dentist if you think you might have TMJ. They will be able to help rule out toothaches and sinus problems that can feel similar to TMJ.
Regular cleanings and proper treatment can help reduce the risk of dental-related headaches, but it is important to remember that not all headaches are dental-related, so be sure to speak with your doctor if you are having problems. (1)
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