Another day, another headache.
It wasn’t bad as yesterday morning. That headache lasted until after lunch. At least, this one was over by the time you got dressed for work.
If treating your headache has become as much a part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth, showering, and shaving, then it might be time to visit the dentist.
Frequent headaches could be the result of grinding your teeth in your sleep, and Atlanta West Dentistry in Marietta can help if that is your problem.
Your headaches may be a symptom of a TMJ problem. While pain relievers can help you cope with the pain, proper treatment could end those headaches entirely.
TMJ is an abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. This is the joint that connects your jaw with your skull.
You can find it by placing a finger on either side of your jaw, near your ear. You will feel it moving as you open and close your mouth or shift your jaw from side-to-side.
The TMJ is a ball-and-socket joint, which is what allows this jaw movement. When you have a problem with your TMJ it’s known as a TMD, or a TMJ disorder.
Headaches are just one of many possible symptoms of TMD. Other symptoms include:
◆ Tenderness in your jaw
◆ Pain in your jaw while you are eating or after a meal
◆ Pain in your facial muscles
◆ Pain in your neck
◆ Pain in your shoulders
◆ Limited motion of your jaw
◆ Temporary inability to open or close your jaw
◆ A clicking or popping sound when you open and close your jaw
As you can see, pain in many forms is a frequent symptom of a TMJ problem. For better or worse, these symptoms are not exclusive to TMJ. However, you should get checked if you experience one or more of these symptoms on a regular basis.
The causes of your TMJ problem can be as diverse as its symptoms, and it’s possible that your TMJ could be the result of multiple issues. Some of them are:
◆ Injuries to your jaw
◆ Clenching or grinding your teeth
Grinding your teeth together is also known as bruxism. As we mentioned in the introduction, this may be something you are doing in your sleep. If you are having frequent morning headaches, this could be why.
People sometimes clench their teeth without realizing it when they are awake, too. This can be a response to anxiety, and as we all know, we live in in a fast-paced, high-stress world.
Your boss could get on your case about something or give you a last-minute assignment. One of your coworkers could be particularly annoying when you are trying to finish a task. At home, you and your spouse could be arguing over a big decision. One of your children may be sick, or you may have concerns about bills.
When you clench and grind your teeth, you are putting extra pressure on your TMJ. That pressure can extend to the muscles and tendons that connect to your TMJ, and it can affect the muscles in your neck and shoulders, too.
It also may be the reason you are having so many headaches, earaches, or both.
If bruxism is one of the factors causing your TMD, then Atlanta West Dentistry can help. We will examine your teeth, and we will see the signs that you have been grinding your teeth.
(This is also a good reason to come to our office for routine cleanings. This is one of the things we look for when we perform an examination.)
If you are grinding your teeth, then we can create a mouthguard, which you will wear at night.
As you get used to wearing it, your jaw will become more comfortable in this new position. This will prevent your teeth from touching (so you can’t grind them), and it will allow your jaw to relax.
This alleviates the pressure on your TMJ as well as the muscles and tendons that connect to it. For many people, this is a great solution to their TMJ disorder … and to their headache problem.
If you are ready to start your mornings feeling fresh instead of feeling like you need a pill, call our dentist office in Marietta, GA.
Atlanta West Dentistry wants nothing more than to end your pain. Experience the difference a mouthguard can make. Call (770) 635-5336 or use our online form to make an appointment.
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