If you’re one of the 12.5% of Americans whose headaches render them unable to live normally, chances are that you’ve been taking medicines for the wrong cause. According to the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, 80% of those horrid headaches are caused by muscle tension, a health issue which may be related to your bite. Yes, you read that right. A bad bite can turn into a massive headache easily since muscle strain or contraction leads to pain, especially when held tight for a long period of time.
When a Headache is Induced by Your Teeth
There are many dental issues which can result in a headache, but the following are the most serious.
- Temperomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) – The temperomandibular joint connects the lower jaw to the temporal bone in the skull. Due to injuries to your jaw, arthritis, a dental procedure or infection, you may develop TMJ. While the pain may be felt in the muscles of your jaw, you can experience chronic headaches as well. Therefore, you may need a corrective dental treatment like braces or crowns
- Tired Bite – Poorly aligned teeth or even missing ones can make your bite unstable, forcing the muscles in your jaw to work harder. Since you won’t take a break from chewing any time soon, your overworked jaw muscles may become strained and ultimately painful. However, at times the pain may be referred to your head, causing you to experience bad headaches.
- Muscle Imbalance – When your jaw’s muscles are tense, balancing your 15 lb. head may become difficult. The tenser your muscles, the shorter they’ll become and the worse the pain in your neck and shoulders. Again, due to referred pain, your head will feel as if it’ll explode.
When to Head to the Dentist
If you’re wondering whether your headaches are caused by your bite, the following signs are a surefire indication:
- Pain behind your eyes
- A sore jaw once you wake up
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Popping sounds from your jaws
- Severe pain in your head or scalp
If you’re suffering from these, you need to check with your dentist. We’ll examine your teeth, muscles and jaw joints to ascertain that dental stress is the cause of your headaches. If so, our treatment will focus on improving your bite to reduce the tension and strain in your jaw. We may even have to suggest physical therapy to improve the postural relationship of your head, neck and shoulders.
Whichever treatment our dentists offer, rest assured that your bite will improve and your headaches will be history.