How Your Dental Problems and TMJ Disorder (TMD) May Be Linked with Your Headaches

Oral health issues can generate farther-reaching consequences than those gingivitis, TMJ disorders and cavities – not the least of which being severe, persistent headaches

If you experience persistent headaches (migraines, tension headaches, forehead headache, sinus type headaches) that you can’t quite link with a single obvious instigator, it may be the real estate surrounding your jaw alerting you to a developing dental problem that demands addressing.

The ever-versatile human body masters several pointed dialects of pain and discomfort. Occasionally, the central nervous system doesn’t translate a message that something isn’t in its ideal operating order quite efficiently enough to raise a clear alarm. Fortunately, nature’s design for an optimally healthy body intertwines functions and awareness between seemingly unrelated systems and parts. If your body can’t quite adequately communicate a worsening oral anomaly or health issue, it sometimes makes its point impossible to ignore by filtering the message through a more responsive channel. It’s an action known as “referred pain”.

Headaches sometimes accompany a dental problem that has already made its presence well and truly felt. Others, the supplementary pain can become a measure of just how seriously a condition or injury has become. Think of it in terms of neighboring tracts of farmland. Surrounding landowners can’t afford to take pests or disease that affect a neighbor’s crops lightly; what erodes one parcel may soon spread its destruction to the next.

A headache can be symptomatic of any number of conditions and a consequence of numerous causes, from a pinched nerve, eye strain or TMJ syndrome to a substantial head injury. The secret to brilliant diagnostic medicine is not in recognizing a single symptom and guessing, but recognizing the company in which it travels.

 

  • DENTAL STRESS

Oral structural issues can set off a variety of referred pains. The muscles that operate your jaw are fundamentally the same as any other throughout your body: tense them enough, and they eventually ache and can eventually initiate a dull, throbbing tension headache originating in one or both sides of your head.

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Tension headaches related to dental problems often accompany one or more symptoms from a common set:

 

  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Sore jaw muscles or “tired” muscles upon awakening
  • Teeth grinding
  • Clicking or popping jaw joints
  • Head and/or scalp painful to the touch

Fortunately,tension headaches originating from dental problems are no different from any other kind in another important way: though involuntarily, chronically tensed jaw muscles may indicate an issue best served by a doctor or dentist who has a focused interest in treating Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder (TMD).

 

  • STRUCTURAL IMBALANCES

Sometimes, when something within a human body can’t function as designed, the body’s supporting structures and systems find a way to compensate.

 

Think about the last time you twisted an ankle or jammed a finger. You stood and walked with more weight shifted to your other leg or slightly adapted the way you held objects or typed so as to minimize pressure on the injured digit. Any muscle’s increased strain will result in various muscles and tendons throughout the body shouldering additional loads in order to compensate as the nervous system realizes that something isn’t quite right with the distribution of the body’s workload.

Tensing even one jaw, neck or shoulder muscle shortens it and imbalances the load connected muscles have to equalize to balance a 15-pound adult human head on top of the spinal column.

A tired or unstable bite won’t stop its havoc at your jaw. The pain of an unstable bite in particular is cyclical:

 

  • Imbalance overworks jaw, head and neck muscles in order to compensate for a weakness
  • Constant tension becomes painful
  • Pain results in added tension, worsening muscle spasms, and deepening pain

Amid all that undue tension that none of these muscle groups was designed to shoulder unto itself, the jaw still has a job to do. The upper and lower teeth come together firmly over 2,000 times a day just to brace the jaw against the skull as we swallow day and night. Improperly aligned or missing teeth create imbalances and instability that our bodies’ top-most muscle groups have to mitigate without a break. That leads to further strain. In turn, that strain leads to headaches.

 

  • TREATMENT

If your frequent tension headaches accompany dental problems of varying degrees, from a toothache or TMJ syndrome to more chronic issues such as a misaligned bite, we have good news: it doesn’t have to last forever.

Oasis Dental (Dr. Rick Soordhar and Dr. Vick Soordhar) can piece together links between symptoms to determine if structural issues with your teeth or jaw and ensuing muscle strains could be causing headaches and proceed with an appropriate treatment. Alleviating many painful problems starts with restoring natural muscle function that gradually ease excess strain and tension. We can also refer you for accompanying physical therapy to address any referred pain that may stem from improper head, neck and shoulder posture.

For many patients who suffer day to day, here’s the unfortunate news: we can’t help them move forward without a gentle, thorough examination. If you live a day-to-day life filled with painful tension headaches that accompany ongoing oral discomfort, we hope you’ll contact Oasis Dental today. A pain-free life may not be as far away as it feels. No investment is more important and priceless to us than the one you make in your health.

TMJ Specialist and TMJ Speciality

The American Dental Association, Canadian Dental Association, American Medical Association or Canadian Medical Association does not have a designated “TMJ Specialist“, “TMJ Specialty”, or “Orofacial Pain Specialty”. (There are only 10 recognized dental specialties: Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon, Oral Pathologist, Oral Medicine, Oral Maxillofacial Radiologist, Orthodontist, Endodontist, Paediatric, Prosthodontist, Periodontist and Dental Anaesthesiologist.)

However, general dentist (like Dr. Rick Soordhar and Dr. Vick Soordhar) and dental specialist can take post dental school education courses, from organizations like the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain – AACP or university certificate program to have a focused interest in the management of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders.

Dr. Anil Rick Soordhar has obtained his:

Dr . Sunil Vick Soordhar has obtained his:

* DRS. SOORDHAR AND SOORDHAR ARE GENERAL DENTIST WITH A FOCUS ON TMJ DISORDER (TMD) TREATMENT AND ARE NOT SPECIALIST.

* NOTHING ON THIS WEBSITE OR ANY OF THE CONTENT CONTAINED THEREIN IS MEANT TO IMPLY OR STATE DR. RICK SOORDHAR OR DR. VICK SOORDHAR IS A “TMJ SPECIALIST”, ORTHODONTIST SPECIALIST, “DENTAL SLEEP APNEA SPECIALIST”, ORAL MEDICINE SPECIALIST, ORAL PATHOLOGIST SPECIALIST OR ORAL SURGEON SPECIALIST.

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  • Email:info@oasisdentalmilton.com
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