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Can frequent headaches signal a dental problem?

dentist DallasDo you suffer with regularly occurring headaches? Did you know that facial pain and headaches can be related to oral health problems? It’s true. Many who suffer with headaches are surprised to learn that the underlying cause of their discomfort is due to problems with tooth alignment, bruxism, sleep apnea, or the eruption of wisdom teeth. If you commonly suffer with discomfort in the form of facial pain or headaches, be sure to bring these symptoms up with our dentist at your next appointment. Our team will try to help determine the root cause of your pain and develop ways to improve your quality of life.

Oral Health and Facial Discomfort

You might be surprised to learn what the source of your headache or facial pain could be. Some patients whose teeth are crowded and overlapped experience frequent headaches and facial pain. This is often because oral function is impaired—especially when eating food—and therefore causes strain on the TMJ (temporomandibular) joint. A strained TMJ can lead to pain along facial muscles and even headaches.

If you grind or clench your teeth (bruxism) you probably suffer from discomfort as well. Bruxism not only damages tooth structure, it stresses the TMJ and the act of clenching and grinding can directly cause headaches. Many times, people who grind and clench their teeth are unaware that they are doing so. This is because bruxism is normally a response to stress, anxiety, and frustration.

Another issue that may contribute to headaches and discomfort is sleep apnea. This condition involves oral tissues obstructing the airway during sleep. Since this condition prevents a patient from achieving a restful night’s sleep and can even affect oxygen levels in the blood, people with sleep apnea tend to wake up with morning headaches.

Lastly, a more common cause of frequent headaches is the eruption of wisdom teeth. When wisdom teeth come through the gums, they rarely have enough room to emerge in a healthy position. Instead, they crowd other teeth. This crowding can cause moderate discomfort on a daily basis.

To learn more about treatment options for these conditions, call our office to reserve a consultation with our dentist, Dr. Buchanan.