Should I See My Dentist About My Headache?

When you have a headache, you usually don’t think about seeing your dentist. However, persistent head pain could point to common oral health issues, such as TMJ disorder or bruxism. Some people with regular headaches may benefit from talking to their Astoria, NY, dentist for a diagnosis.

TMJ Dysfunction and Bruxism

Two very different oral health issues could lead to the onset of persistent headaches. The first, TMJ disorder (also known as TMD) occurs when the jaw joints, known as temporomandibular joints, undergo excessive strain. The stress eventually causes difficulties opening and closing the mouth completely, as well as a host of uncomfortable symptoms. Factors behind TMD may include bruxism, tooth loss, injury to the face or jaw, or malocclusion. Patients often report head pain, popping or clicking in the jaw, or jaw and facial discomfort.

Bruxism refers to chronic teeth grinding or clenching. Often caused by stress, untreated TMD, tooth loss, injury, or misalignment, the disorder places enormous pressure on the teeth. In addition to headaches, patients could develop toothaches and tooth sensitivity as the teeth become worn, cracked, or chipped. Over time, the disorder has been linked to a greater risk of tooth decay and infection.

Treatment Options

Before prescribing treatment, we will need to examine your smile. We will use advanced technology, such as digital x-rays, to obtain a clear and detailed look at your jaw and oral structures. We will also examine the teeth for signs of wear and friction. If we find evidence of TMD or bruxism, then we will suggest treatment. For some, orthodontics could ease pressure and stop teeth grinding, while others may benefit from a custom-made restoration. However, in most cases we suggest an oral appliance. Similar in appearance to a nightguard, the device is worn as you sleep. The appliance repositions the jaw to ease strain, while also placing a barrier between the upper and lower sets of teeth preventing further damage from teeth grinding. The appliance offers patients a comfortable and non-invasive solution to these common jaw joint disorders.

See Us Every Six Months

Did you know that routine visits often allow us to identify the indicators of TMJ problems, teeth grinding, tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues in the earliest stages? Instead of waiting for discomfort to let you know you need treatment, why not make a point to see us twice a year for an exam? We can monitor your smile, clean your teeth, and help you maintain optimal oral health!

Does Your Head Hurt?

If you have persistent pain, then talk to us about possible treatment options! For more information, schedule a consultation with us by calling Jeffrey Leibowitz, DDS, in Astoria, NY, today at 718-728-8320.