Though a headache may throb in your head, there are many instances where the underlying cause of the pain is elsewhere. Many headaches have their origin in muscle tension in the jaw, neck or shoulder areas that is translated into the pounding or tight, tense feeling we call a headache. Many dental headaches can be effectively treated, once the source of the problem is discovered. A consultation appointment is the first step in determining if your teeth, your bite or your jaw may be causing or contributing to a dental headache.
Some Sources of Dental Headaches
An aching head can result from uneven bite forces, whether they come from crooked teeth, or teeth that do not meet properly (malocclusion). A gap from a missing tooth can shift the stress of chewing and swallowing to the teeth that remain, unbalancing the mechanics of the jaw. Problems in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can also be felt as headaches, rather than as specifically aches in the jaw.
Teeth Grinding and Headache Pain
Chronic teeth grinding often takes place a night, leaving a painful headache behind. While the resulting headache may seem to come from nowhere, this chronic grinding (also called bruxism) leaves a pattern of wear on the teeth that can be identified by a dentist’s trained eye. When the bruxism is addressed with a dental appliance or other means to halt the grinding, the headache pain will be relieved as well.
The Role of the Trigeminal Nerve
The trigeminal nerve is the largest nerve in the face, and it supplies sensory input to the facial structures as well as to the jaw. When one area of the face is in pain, from a toothache, for example, it may cause pains in other areas. Chronic or long-term pain in one area has the potential to be an aggravating factor in headache pain.
ABOUT YOUR HOUSTON, TX, DENTIST:
At Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry in Houston, TX, Dr. Amy Vlachakis (pronounced Vla-ha-kiss) and her dedicated staff strive to make everyone feel like family, while providing top-notch general, cosmetic, and family dentistry services to patients of all ages. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, call our office today at 281-974-4494. Located in Memorial City Plaza, we proudly serve patients throughout Houston, Memorial City, Bunker Hill, West Beltway, City Center, Hedwig Village, and all surrounding communities.