Are Your Jaw Problems Giving You a Headache?

Did you wake up with an aching jaw this morning? Do you often have chronic headaches that don’t seem to respond to normal painkillers? It’s possible that your jaw problems may be related to your headaches.

What Can Cause Jaw Problems?

In a perfect world your teeth would bite or occlude together correctly but when they fail to bite together properly you have what’s called malocclusion or a bad bite. This might seem insignificant but in fact it can cause a number of problems affecting your teeth, your gums and your jaw joints which are called temporomandibular joints. Your jaw joints are attached to lots of different facial muscles that are responsible for moving the lower jaw so you can talk, laugh and eat comfortably. If your bite is even slightly off it can put pressure on these jaw joints causing a disorder called temporomandibular disorder or TMD for short.

Some people, when their teeth are out of alignment will find they clench or grind their teeth at night, a condition called bruxism. This can put tremendous pressure on the teeth, causing them to become chipped and worn and it can even affect the gums, causing gum recession. The pressure created during bruxism can cause inflammation in the jaw joints which may be pretty painful. This pain can not only affect the jaw joints, but may extend to the temples, causing headaches or it may spread down into the neck and shoulders. It can even be responsible for causing earache.

Getting Treatment for Jaw Problems

If you think you may clench or grind or often wake up with a sore and aching jaw and a headache, it’s worth contacting your dentist to book a check-up. They will be able to assess the way your teeth bite together and can tell if you are clenching and grinding at night. It is important to try and get treatment as soon as you can for this type of condition as it can ultimately cause tooth loss and extensive damage to the jaw joints may even require surgery in the very worst cases.

The most straightforward way of treating clenching and grinding is for your dentist to prescribe a custom-made nightguard. This is made from a hard, clear thermoplastic material and will fit tightly over your upper teeth. It is designed to ensure your jaws are placed into a more relaxed position while asleep and will prevent your teeth from biting together. If your teeth are significantly out of position, it’s possible your dentist may suggest other forms of treatment to help correct your bite. For example teeth straightening could help to correct your bite. Other treatments may focus on adjusting your teeth so they bite together properly or adjusting any dental work you may have like fillings that may be slightly too high or renewing old crown and bridge work.

If you’re fed up with waking up with an aching jaw and a headache or have perhaps noticed your teeth look slightly shorter than you remember, why not contact your local Together Dental professional.

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