If you or a family member suffer from recurring headaches, you know how painful and disruptive it can be to your life.
But did you know that underlying dental problems can cause some headaches? At Kellerman Dental, we treat many patients from our Edwardsville and Glen Carbon community dealing with dental headaches.
Most dental headaches are classified as tension headaches, and they result from muscular tension that builds up through your jaw or face. Frequently, this tension is a symptom of malocclusion – the technical term for a bad bite.
A bad bite can result from various issues, old or new, such as previous orthodontics or dental work or incoming wisdom teeth. When you have malocclusion, the chewing surfaces of your teeth do not meet along a smooth curve when your mouth is shut. That results in your jaw muscles overcompensating when you chew, which creates pain and soreness that radiate throughout your head.
These headaches are caused by radiating pain, which can make it tough to pinpoint their cause. Your mouth, jaws, and face are full of complex nerve structures, so the true origin of the pain can radiate throughout the skull and cause you to feel the pain in other localized areas.
For example, the temples of your head may be experiencing discomfort, but the true origin of the pain could be the muscles of your jaw. The good news is that your dentist can fix a bad bite by reshaping your teeth or wearing an orthotic that corrects your bite over time.
There are a few other potential causes of dental headaches – Bruxism or TMJ Disorder. Bruxism means teeth grinding, while Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder occurs due to problems with the jaw’s mechanism and its surrounding muscles.
Bruxism is an involuntary habit that can develop as a child and occurs when we sleep. Grinding your teeth for hours on end puts a tremendous strain on your jaw and face muscles – if you wake up with headaches, this could be the cause.
Typically, TMJ problems are a result of an injury to the joint. Anything from whiplash to sports trauma to opening your mouth too widely could trigger TMJ issues. If you experience “clicking” of your jaw, you should see your dentist for an evaluation.
Kellerman Dental specializes in teeth and jaw misalignment issues, teeth grinding, and sleep apnea treatment, so we would be happy to discuss different options for giving you relief from headaches.
One final note – aside from the headache causes described above, headaches can also result from more familiar dental issues like cavities, a tooth infection, or an abscess. That is why you need to visit your dentist to see if your headaches may be coming from your mouth.
If you have issues with headaches or other pain in your jaw or mouth, we would love to see how we can help. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kellerman.
Dr. Kevin Kellerman is an alumnus of Pinckneyville Community High School, Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, and SIUE School of Dental Medicine from where he obtained his doctorate.
A full-time dental practitioner, he also lectures on various topics. He is affiliated with many professional bodies including the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, American Orthodontic Society, Academy of General Dentistry, American Dental Association, Illinois State Dental Association, and the Glen Carbon/Edwardsville Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Kellerman and team are known for higher levels of service and patient care and for utilizing advanced technologies in treatments. He also participates in community projects and believes in giving back to the community that he serves.