While many people suffer from chronic headaches and migraines, if you’re waking up with a headache every single morning, your teeth might have something to do with it. It’s aggravating to wake up each morning already in pain, but if your teeth are involved, the good news is there’s probably a treatment to help ease your pain once and for all. Here’s a list of some of the possible causes of every-morning headaches, and the treatments you can hope to expect when you see your dentist:
Do I suffer from Bruxism?
Bruxism is known as the act of grinding your teeth back and forth over each other or clenching your top and bottom teeth tightly together and is a very common sleep disorder. People who suffer from bruxism will often notice dull headaches, jaw or face pain, or slight earaches. Aside from the pain, bruxism can also create long-term problems by wearing down the enamel, flattening or chipping teeth, or increasing tooth sensitivity.
Treatment for Bruxism
If you have sleep bruxism, your dentist can help you treat it, so that you don’t have to wake up every morning with a headache. Here are a few common treatment options:
- Mouth Guard – The most common treatment is a mouth guard, which works to protect your teeth and prevent clenching by holding your jaw in a more relaxed, natural position.
- Stress or Anxiety Management – One of the most common causes of bruxism is stress. When you sleep your stress can manifest itself in teeth grinding or clenching. To minimize this, your doctor might help you learn some relaxation or deep breathing exercises, or may suggest you see a counselor.
- Addressing Sleep-Related Disorders – People with certain other sleep disorders are often more at risk of developing bruxism. If you have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea, going to the doctor to address that disorder can help minimize, and even stop your bruxism. Eventually, that will stop your headaches too!
Do I suffer from TJM Syndrome?
TMJ syndrome is actually pain that comes from the joints and chewing muscles that connect your lower jaw to your skull. Found on both sides of the jaw, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) holds the the upper and lower jaws together, and when the joint is out of line, damaged, or overused by clenching or grinding, you can wake up with a headache that you’ll feel along your jaw, face, and ears. You may also experience a locking of your mouth joint.
It’s good to know that TMJ is also highly treatable, and is usually not a long-lasting condition. In fact, most symptoms go away by themselves. If you just can’t seem to shake those headaches though, here are a few treatments you can expect when you go in to see the doctor or dentist:
- Pain relievers and Anti-Inflammatories — If you can’t seem to get the pain to go away with ibuprofen or Advil, your doctor or dentist may recommend a slightly higher strength pain reliever. This will calm the inflammation in your jaw, and give your TMJ a chance to settle down, also helping to relieve your headache.
- Muscle Relaxants – If you’re having a hard time shaking the symptoms, your doctor or dentist may prescribe a muscle relaxant to use for a few days, especially before you go to bed. This should help your body stop clenching your teeth during the night, which will relieve stress on the TMJ, allowing it to re-align, and stopping your headache.
- Mouth Guard – Just like with bruxism, if your TMJ syndrome is occurring because of clenching or grinding at night, your dentist may fit you with a mouth guard or oral splint that will keep you from stressing that joint. After a few days with the mouth guard, and staying away from hard and crunchy foods, you will most likely be back to normal, and headache free.
What Can I Do About Headaches Caused by Bruxism or TMJ Syndrome?
If you think you may be suffering from either bruxism or TMJ syndrome, you don’t have to deal with the pain forever. The simple solution would be to contact your dentist right away. From there, you and your doctor can construct a plan that will work best for you; this could be a simple bite adjustment or even getting fit for a custom occlusal/bite guard. Custom-fitted bite guard splints are not only molded specifically to your mouth, but they are made from long-lasting and durable acrylic and can offer you some much needed comfort.
Creason & Weber Family Dentistry would be happy to discuss options to help you eliminate headaches and jaw pain once and for all. Call us at (616) 842-0822 or request an appointment online today.