Chronic recurrent headaches as well as facial and neck pain are a common occurrence in millions of people. In addition, people frequently suffer from ear symptoms including pain, ringing, buzzing, loss of hearing or clicking or locking of the jaw which can make chewing, speaking or moving the jaw painful or difficult.
Until recently these symptoms, appearing unrelated, were frequently undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as migraine, tension headache, neuritis, neuralgia, or stress. When standard treatment remedies for these types of disorders proved unsuccessful, patients were frequently labeled as hypochondriacs, “it’s all in your
head”, or neurotic.
Today, it is well recognized by certain practitioners within the Health Care Community that these often unexplained, undiagnosed and therefore untreated symptoms are related to a group of problems called, Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD).
Today, practitioners with proper training and diagnostic skills, are able to pin point the cause of these symptoms and provide, often times seemingly miraculous, relief of symptoms which may have been present for years.
If you suffer from one or all of these symptoms, we might be able to help you.
pain and soreness in your jaw joint and muscles of your face
headaches and or neck aches
noises in your joint such as clicking or popping sounds
difficulty opening or closing your jaw
difficulty chewing food
your teeth not feeling like they fit together properly
difficulty opening your mouth wide
ringing in your ears
grinding your teeth
awakening in the morning with soreness in your jaw or muscles of your face
feeling worried about these symptoms
Headaches and Dental Health
One in eight Americans suffer from recurring headaches that are so severe they cannot carry out normal living! An estimated 80% of all headaches occur from muscle tension. Did you know that many tension headaches are related to your bite? This article explains how headaches can result from dental stress and how your dentist might treat them.
Headaches are our number one pain problem in the United States. Approximately 40% of all “healthy” individuals suffer from chronic headaches.
Headaches from Dental Stress
How can your bite cause a headache? Tension headaches result from muscle strain, or contraction. When muscles are held tight for long periods of time they begin to ache. Headaches from dental stress are a type of muscle tension headache. A tension headache may be on one or both sides of your head. Or, it may surround your head as if a steel band were wrapped around it. The pain feels like a dull, non-throbbing ache.
The muscles which control your jaw and hold your head upright are very complex. Many people do not realize that every time they swallow, their upper and lower teeth must come together in a firm way to brace the jaw against the skull. We swallow over 500 times each day and night! If your bite is unstable, as from poorly aligned teeth or even a missing tooth, the muscles must work harder to bring the teeth together. Most people take a vacation from work when they tire out-but your jaw muscles never get a break! The overworked muscles become strained. When muscles are under constant strain, they eventually become painful.
The pain may be felt in the cheeks or the jaw joints. Many times, however, the pain is “referred” to other areas of the head. Referred pain is when a pain originates in a part of the body that differs from the area where it is felt. Even a single tooth can refer pain to the head.
Other muscles may also become involved. Your head is delicately balanced on top of your spinal column by muscles in your jaw, neck, shoulders, and back. Your head weighs approximately 15 pounds the weight of an average bowling ball! Imagine your head as a baseball balanced on top of a pencil by a number of rubber bands. When muscles are tense, they shorten. Now imagine shortening just one of those rubber bands. Some rubber bands would stretch, some would shorten, and the baseball would be thrown off kilter! Similarly, when even a single jaw, neck, or shoulder muscle becomes shortened, all of the other muscles are forced to overwork to keep the head balanced on top of the spinal column. We see then that dental headaches originate from an unstable bite which cause the muscles of the jaw, head, and neck to overwork and become painful. Once the muscles become painful, a vicious cycle begins. The pain makes you feel tense and uptight. This worsens the muscle spasm, which in turn increases the pain.
Contact Sierra Springs Dental
If you think you may be suffering from TMJ Disorder, please contact Sierra Springs Dental today. One of our dentists will be happy to meet with you for an evaluation and create a customized treatment plan for your specific needs. Also, get to know more about our dental treatment technologies.