Dentally Related Headaches

There are a wide range of causes of headaches and tooth and jaw problems are on that list. A toothache can refer pain up toward the ear, onward toward the temple, then eventually to an old-fashioned headache. The more common dentally related cause of headaches is pain from the temporomandibular joint (jaw joint) and the related muscles of mastication. Inflammation in the joint itself can cause pain that can radiate to the head. When the surrounding muscles go into spasm, the constantly contracted muscles choke off the blood vessels reducing the blood flow. This causes a buildup of lactic acid. It’s the same discomfort we get when we start exercising after an extended layoff. It’s a malady called myofascial pain dysfunction syndrome. The muscle spasms will start with the chewing muscles, but then will get the other muscle groups involved. When these head and neck muscles begin to spasm, we call that – a headache. Although different from the migraine, it is nonetheless – a pain. Your dentist can help you with diagnosing and treating many headaches. Once serious problems, for example, brain tumors, have been ruled out, then the dentist can try a TMD splint, basically a mouthpiece, to take the pressure off the jaw joint, and will many times alleviate the pain.