Do you suffer from headaches? Have you ever thought your teeth or dental condition could be causing your head pain? Headaches are the number one source of pain for us here in the United States, and most people want to immediately believe there is a much bigger problem when the problem actually could be stemming from your mouth.
How are headaches related to dental problems? There are several ways in which your mouth, teeth, and jaws play a role in creating headaches. Once you’ve identified the type of dental problem that’s responsible for your frequent headaches, you can work with your dentist on correcting the issue to relieve you of your head pain.
Tension Headaches Related to Dental Stresses
A tension headache happens when a muscle is strained or is in a continual state of contraction. Muscles that are tightened for long periods of time will begin to ache. Muscles aren’t meant to be tightened for long periods of time; they need their resting points. Dentists have found several reasons for how dental problems are creating tension headaches for people.
When tension headaches are caused by dental problems, the most common symptoms a patient will complain about and will notice are:
- Painful head and scalp
- Complaints of teeth grinding
- Popping and clicking in their jaw
- A dull to sharp pain behind the eyes
- Sore jaw muscles, typically a tired jaw first thing in the morning
The most common causes of tension headaches related to dental problems are bad/poor bites which include:
Your jaw is one of the hardest working muscles in the body. Did you know that over a twenty-four hour period you swallow around 2000 times? Every time you swallow your jaw must go to work, bringing your upper jaw to meet the lower jaw firmly against the skull. If your jaw isn’t properly aligned, perhaps due to poor tooth alignment, missing teeth or unstable denture pieces, your jaw then works harder to bring the teeth together. The overworked muscles will eventually tire and become strained. It’s this strain that can develop into regular tension headaches.
When pain develops in one area of the body but is felt elsewhere, this is known as referred pain. A toothache or dental problems that originate in the mouth can lead to pain in surrounding areas, such as the head. Especially because all the muscles are in such close proximity to each other and all work together to keep the head, neck, and jaw in alignment. If you develop dental problems, you very well may find you suffer from tension headaches until the dental issue has been corrected.
All the muscles in your head and neck work together to keep your head perfectly balanced on top of your neck. Straining these muscles, causing them to contract or shorten, can throw the intricate balance of muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding your head, neck and jaw off balance.
An unstable bite can have you straining muscles without even realizing it, and before you know it, you have a tension headache. When tension headaches are allowed to continue, you may start to notice you’ve developed muscles spasms which only intensifies the pain.
If you find that you’re suffering from frequent headaches, and are experiencing the symptoms described above, it’s best to see a doctor or dentist. Having your pain evaluated will allow you find the root cause, and receive treatment so that you can start living a pain-free life.
Give us a call to set up an appointment if you in the Fairfax area, and we can explore your symptoms to find a solution to relieve your headaches.