Dental Tips Blog

Dec
18

Dental Factors that Contribute to Headaches

Posted in Mouth Guards

Are headaches becoming a way of life? Do you find yourself waking up in the morning with headaches, or developing them randomly throughout the day along with tenseness in your face, neck, and shoulders? If that’s the case, your headaches may have an underlying cause that is related to your teeth or oral tissues.

TMJ disorder is one of the most common orofacial related causes of headaches and muscle pain through the neck and shoulders. If you have under increased stress, you may find that you tense or tighten the joint throughout the day or when you sleep. This strains the muscles around the jaw or TMJ area, radiating pain throughout the surrounding tissues. Wearing a bite guard to help guide your jaw into a relaxation position can eliminate this tension.

Grinding your teeth throughout the day or when you sleep will also cause strain on the TMJ. A bite splint can prevent your teeth from closing tightly against one another, and reducing the amount of pressure put in your muscles. It will also prevent severe wear of the tooth enamel, which is a common result of untreated grinding or bruxism.

Severe tooth malocclusion, or misaligned teeth and jaws, can cause abnormal functioning of the jaw and muscles in the head. You use your mouth thousands of times a day to talk, eat, laugh, and smile. Repetitive use of the mouth when it does not function properly can cause strain. An improper bite relationship can stress muscles and wear down joints. By correcting your bite through orthodontic therapy or oral surgery, you can benefit from proper functioning as well as increased appearance of your teeth.

Posted on behalf of Dr. James C. Kincaid

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Apr
11

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD)

Posted in TMJ Therpy

TMJD is the common term used to describe pain, dysfunction, or abnormalities in the joint surrounding the jawbone. TMJD has a wide variety of symptoms depending on what the cause is, but it’s estimated that millions of people suffer from the disorder. Young women tend to be one of the most likely groups to develop the condition.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder can cause people to have:

  • Pain
  • Head, neck or shoulder pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Grinding, clicking or locking of the joint
  • Inhibited range of motion
  • Trouble chewing or biting

Dentists can help you treat your TMJD through the use of oral occlusal splints, bite guards, instruction on home therapy and stress relieving exercises, or even with the use of Botox treatments. Most of the time conservative, non-invasive therapy is used to help manage TMJD symptoms. In rare cases of severe joint dysfunction there may be a need for surgical therapy. Most surgical treatments do not completely correct the joint abnormality, but rather alleviate the discomfort caused by the condition.

TMJ disorders are usually from one of 3 categories:

  • Degenerative Joint Disease (associated with arthritis)
  • Internal Joint Derangement (joint or disc displacement)
  • Myofascial Pain (most common)

A visual examination as well as imaging with x-rays or CT scanning will allow your dental provider to determine the cause of your discomfort. By alleviating symptoms that cause abnormal use of the joint, you can greatly decrease the pain and muscle tension felt through your jaw, head, neck and shoulders. Bite splints and relaxation exercises such as yoga can help train the joint to rest in the proper position and reduce muscle tension that would otherwise complicate and worsen your condition.

Posted on behalf of Dr. James C. Kincaid

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