Our Dentist Could Get Rid of Your Headaches
- April 29, 2018
Not long ago, a woman came to our office. She needed help, and she didn’t know what to do.
For months, she’d woken up with headaches. When she tried to eat anything harder than scrambled eggs, her jaw felt sore at the end of her meal.
At times, her face felt sore, too.
She came to our office in Plainville, CT because she heard we could help. Thankfully, we could and we did. Unfortunately, it meant that she had been grinding her teeth together for some time.
We never want our patients to be in pain. It’s why we offer sedation dentistry. It’s also why we offer treatments for teeth grinding.
The Source of the Problem
Teeth grinding is often a reaction to the stress in your life. In today’s world, that stress can come from a lot of places: our families, work, financial matters, and much more.
The woman mentioned above had kids, and she had been working on a big project at work. We can understand why she may have been feeling stressed.
Without knowing it, she had been clenching and grinding her teeth in her sleep. This is actually more common than many people realize. It also explains the symptoms she described to us.
Take a moment to place a couple fingers on both sides of your face, just below your ears. Now, open and close your mouth. You will probably feel something moving. Those are your temporomandibular joints or TMJ.
When you grind your teeth together, you put added strain on one or both of those joints. This also can affect the muscles and other tissues around those joints, too.
This can lead to headaches, earaches, and jaw pain. Some people also experience stiffness in their jaws, or they may feel like they can’t fully open or close their mouths at times.
If these become chronic problems, you may develop at TMJ disorder. We hope you will schedule a consultation with us before you get to that point, although we will be glad to help even if you are already there.
How We Can Help
The first thing we will do is examine your teeth and jaws. As you know, headaches can have a variety of causes, so we will look for wear and tear that suggest that you have been grinding your teeth together.
You probably realize that grinding your teeth together is bad for your oral health, too. Grinding can damage the enamel of your teeth. This can lead to chips or cracks, and it can expose the softer layer of dentin below the enamel. This may lead to increased tooth sensitivity as well.
If we could make the stress in your life magically disappear, we would. Instead, we have a more practical solution. To stop the damage of teeth grinding, we have to create a barrier between your top and bottom rows of teeth.
We do this by making a custom-fitted mouthguard that you can wear while you sleep. This physically prevents your teeth from touching, which stops further damage from grinding.
The mouthguard does something else that’s equally important. Most patients do need a little time to get used to sleeping with something in their mouths. As you become more accustomed to this, many patients also find that their jaws stay more relaxed. If they have any morning headaches and jaw pains, they are much more rare and less painful.
How You Can Help Yourself
Like we said, we can’t reduce the stress in your life, but you may be able to find new ways to manage or reduce that stress. For some people, this is finding a therapist to talk to. For others, this is finding exercise or another activity that gives them a way to release their tension.
It also helps to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco, especially close the time you go to bed.