How Untreated Dental Issues Can Cause Headaches

How Untreated Dental Issues Can Cause Headaches

You’re no stranger to the dull pain of a headache.

The nausea, light sensitivity, and missing out on valuable time with your friends and family are all to familiar for you.

After trying dozens of over-the-counter medications, you’re probably ready to give up and accept a life of headaches. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The solution to your problem may be as simple as a quick trip to your dentist. 

There are a number of ways that your dental health can trigger those annoying headaches.

Headaches and TMJ

One of the leading culprits in frequent headaches is TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, which is often caused by jaw dysfunction. When your jaw is not in a proper resting position, it causes the muscles to feel tense. Tension headaches, referred pain headaches and migraines are connected to jaw dysfunction. 

With tension headaches, the pain is caused from your jaw not being able to rest properly. Despite the problem starting in your jaw, the muscles span all the way up the sides of your head and connect behind your eyes, which explains the pounding that you get behind your eyes. 

For migraine sufferers, there are only a few things worse than the debilitating pain. One of the triggers is when the trigeminal nerve, which has branches under the jaw, is under pressure. This occurs mostly when your jaw is dysfunctional. 

You can also get migraines when the trigeminal nerve experiences an overload which is usually caused by an imbalance of the jaw. 

If you get referred pain headaches, your body experiences pain in a place that is not the source. For example, your jaw may be the cause of the issue, but your head is taking the brunt of the pain. 

Headaches are just one complication associated with TMJ. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have TMJ:

  • Ear pain
  • Grinding or clenching your jaw while you sleep 
  • Neck and jaw pain
  • A bite that feels off

Headaches and Sleep Apnea

Another key player in frequent headaches is sleep apnea. If you have sleep apnea, your airway collapses during the night, causing your jaw to clench in an attempt to keep it open. This can happen hundreds of times throughout the night. In addition to causing you to wake up to catch your breath, it also puts severe tension on your jaw. The lack of oxygen your body receives can lead to headaches. In some cases, sleep apnea contributes to TMJ.

You deserve a life well-lived, not one bound to pain medications and dark rooms. Contact Dr. Andrea Stevens today to learn how to start living and stop hiding from headaches. 

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