Migraines and other chronic headaches, can be, well, a pain. The top of your head feels as though it’s about to explode. Excruciating pain radiates to the sides of your head, your neck, your eyes. You can’t seem to think about anything other than making the pain go away. You take over-the-counter headache meds or those prescribed by your physician, and still the pain persists. Sound familiar?
Doctors see patients more and more who present with all the markers of a migraine headache, or with the severe pain associated with migraines. They look for triggers such as chocolate, caffeine, or other diet-related things. They discuss environmental things like your cleaning supplies, smoking, and lighting conditions, If all else fails, your severe headaches can always be blamed on that catch-all killer -- stress.
Here at Aesthetic Dentistry of Bernardsville, we can help you get the answers you need when it comes to your chronic headaches. Dr. Patti Swaintek-Lamb is a skilled dentist with experience in neuromuscular dentistry. When patients mention they have headaches, she checks for jaw misalignment, which can lead to all kinds of chronic pain throughout the body. Neuromuscular dentistry provides answers and relief, for patients who have been living with excruciating pain.
The root of the pain
Sometimes jaw-related problems are to blame for headache pain. Stress can force you to tense up, clench your jaw, and tighten the surrounding muscles. You may even grind your teeth and not realize it. This results in pain in the jaw, which can travel to other areas of the skull, causing toothaches, ear pain, back aches, shoulder tightness, and yes, headaches. Sometimes these headaches become severe enough to be considered migraines.
Relief that allows you to live your life
When you experience such severe pain, you can’t really function normally. Taking medication can dull the pain temporarily, but it always seems to come back. Prescription drugs may provide relief, but leave you unable to go about your routine activities, such as work, parenting, driving, and performing daily tasks. There has to be a way to get rid of the pain and get back into life.
Neuromuscular dentistry offers a way to get to the bottom of your pain and provide relief. Oftentimes your headaches can be corrected by manipulating the jaw, and realigning the muscles. The pain you’re feeling is very likely related to your temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
An estimated 5%-10% of the population suffer with pain associated with the TMJ. The pain from the pressure you’re placing on your TMJ is just like the pain of a severe headache. In moments of stress, tension, or even as you sleep, your TMJ can be under so much pressure it becomes misaligned. This causes the chronic headaches that many people consider migraines.
Our dentists can determine the degree of your temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, and together you can work toward a solution. Once you’re evaluated, we’ll recommend the best course of treatment to get your jaw back in alignment. These options include custom mouthguards, orthodontics to permanently realign your jaw, or a full restoration that combines orthodontic intervention with cosmetic dentistry to restore your bite.
Signs you may have TMD
Obviously, if you’re experiencing severe headaches, you should be evaluated for TMD. However, there are other telltale signs that point to TMD, including:
- Clicking, cracking, or grinding sound when moving the jaw, such as in chewing
- Difficulty fully opening your mouth
- Jaw stiffness
- Tenderness around jaw, face, and neck
- Ear pain
If you’ve been experiencing headaches, neck tension, and overall stress-related pain, you need relief. We’ll help determine if your pain is related to a misaligned jaw and find ways to return you to a pain-free life.
To schedule a visit, click the “request appointment” button or call our office in Bernardsville, New Jersey.