She came to our San Antonio, TX office for a dental cleaning, but something she said caught our attention.
She mentioned that she had been struggling with morning headaches for months, and she couldn’t figure out what the problem was. When we took a look at her teeth, we had an idea.
Her teeth showed wear and tear consistent with teeth grinding, something that millions of people do in their sleep. This can lead to a number of problems including headaches, earaches, and jaw pains. All of these are symptoms of TMJ disorders, which we can treat at Advanced Dental Associates.
To understand what we did for the patient described above and what we could do for you, please call 210-819-5233 to make an appointment with one of our doctors.
Why Your Head Hurts
Before you read any further, touch a few fingers on your face near your ears. Now open and close your mouth. You can probably feel movement at your TMJ or temporomandibular joints. These are ball-and-socket joints where your lower jaw connects to your upper jaw.
These joints allow you to open and close your mouth. We are pretty sure you would agree with us this is important for everyday life.
The location of these joints also can help explain why the patient we mentioned above (and maybe you, too) was having headaches. When she was grinding her teeth in her sleep, she was putting a lot of pressure on one or both of those joint. That pressure caused her headaches.
For other people that pressure can lead to jaw soreness, facial pains, and even pain in the neck, upper back, or shoulders.
You may feel these pains in the morning, during moments of stress, and during or after meals. We’ve even had people tells us that their pain would return after speaking or singing for extended periods of time.
Easing Your Pain
The pains mentioned above can have a big impact on your everyday life.
The headaches can make it difficult to focus on work or to enjoy time with family and friends. Jaw pains can force you to avoid foods you love in favor of soft, mushy foods that require minimal chewing or soups (which) don’t need to be chewed at all).
Now, we love mashed potatoes and a nice bowl of soup from time to time, but we also enjoy chicken, steak, corn on the cob, carrots, pizza, and any number of other foods. Your diet should not be dictated by whether or not eating something will leave your feeling sore.
To stop your pain, you need to find a way to stop grinding your teeth together. Often this is a response to stress in your life.
We can’t take away that stress, but we can design a special mouthguard that you can wear while you sleep. This nightguard acts as a barrier to stop you from grinding your teeth together. It also can change the resting position of your jaw, so you put less pressure on your joints.