Headaches are a real pain – not just because of the physical pain they cause, but the disruption they cause to daily routines. The American Academy of Craniofacial Pain says that 80% of headaches are caused by muscle tension. In many cases, tension headaches can be caused by or made worse by occlusal (bite) problems.
If you experience frequent headaches, mention them at your next dental visit. Dr. Emeka Abazie will evaluate the masticatory system to determine if a dental condition is a possible source of your headaches.
About Headaches and TMJ Dysfunction
Headaches are one of the common signs of TMJ dysfunction. Most people who experience “TMJ headaches” will usually notice symptoms in the morning, often due to clenching and teeth grinding that occurs during sleep.
TMJ Headache Symptoms
Pain in the temporal region
Shoulder pain, neck pain or pain in the back of the head
Teeth grinding, teeth clenching
There are many treatments for TMJ dysfunction and occlusal disorder including oral appliance therapy and bite correction which can involve orthodontics and/or occlusal adjustments.
Also known as a bruxism appliance, a TMJ mouthguard is a removable appliance that is worn during sleep. This type of treatment can be especially helpful for patients who experience frequent headaches. The sleep appliance is custom made to fit over the teeth, protecting the teeth and TMJ during clenching and grinding.
Dr. Gupta may also recommend bite correction procedures to realign the teeth so that the upper and lower teeth come into contact with each other correctly. Bite correction can include a number of procedures including orthodontics, dental crowns, bridges and equilibration techniques.