Can Frequent Headaches Signal a Dental Problem?

shutterstock_18883186 (Custom)Big city life can bring about a host of stress-related problems. From commuter rush to the daily 9-to-5, it is natural for many people to feel rushed and stressed at some point during the day.

Headaches are a common symptom of stress, but many people won’t stop to think that their headache may be exacerbated by teeth-clenching, an often ignored, subconscious reaction to stress. They might not realize that a city dentist could in fact be their best weapon when it comes to alleviating stress-related headaches.

Headaches can be debilitating, and their severity can range from a dull throbbing through to a full migraine. While over-the-counter painkillers are the most common treatment, getting to the root of the cause of headaches can deliver far greater comfort.

Clenching and grinding teeth, a condition called bruxism, is a common subconscious reaction to stress in many people. The result of this clenching or grinding is to exert pressure between the upper and lower jaw, which can affect the muscles and joints. The flexible lower jaw is called the mandible, and is affixed to the static upper jaw by a joint called the temperomandibular joint. It is this point that is placed under the most pressure whenever we clench or grind our teeth.

The temperomandibular joint controls the hinging acting between the upper and lower jaw whenever we eat or speak. Pressure applied to the joint can alter our biting pattern, and in severe instances a condition known as TMJ, or temperomandibular disorder.

Frequent, severe headaches can be a symptom of bruxism, and a dentist can help to tackle the symptoms through a range of treatments. These treatments range from non-dental treatments, simple relaxation techniques or lifestyle changes, through to custom mouth guards that are designed to be worn by the patient overnight, in order to absorb the impact of teeth that grind or clench together. In more severe cases, surgery to treat the cause may be required.

The next time you experience a headache, consider the cause may be dental-related and a visit to a dentist may be just the tonic required to alleviate the symptoms. Contact our experienced dental team at 718-417-4544 to schedule an appointment today.

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