How Your Dentist Can Relieve Chronic Headaches

young man with a headacheYou might think of your dentist immediately if you experience a toothache or other dental discomfort. However, few people would think of their dentist first when experiencing chronic, seemingly unexplainable headaches. Rochester dentist, Dr. Calcagno, has helped many patients enjoy life again by identifying and treating TMJ disorder—a dysfunction that can result in severe headaches in addition to a jaw discomfort. If your bite is imbalanced, or you’ve suffered a facial injury, then your jaw’s joints can become damaged, inhibiting your jaw’s movement and generating wide-spread aches and pains.

From Jaw Pain to Migraines

Your TMJs are the two joints that connect your lower jaw (mandible) to your skull, and they allow your jaw to move in the many directions that it needs to when biting, chewing, speaking, etc. Typically, these joints are designed to move smoothly within their sockets, efficiently displacing your bite’s pressure. When they’re disturbed, the joints can become displaced, damaged, or inflamed, which can irritate the nerve in your jaw. Your jaw’s nerve, only one branch of the dominant trigeminal nerve, can transfer pain to other areas along the other three branches, which innervate the majority of your head, neck, and face, and are responsible for your jaw’s movement. Left untreated, TMJ disorder can result in frequent and severe headaches, as well as numerous other telltale symptoms.

Other Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

Because the trigeminal nerve is the largest of all of your cranial nerves, the symptoms related to TMJ disorder can vary greatly, and often don’t even seem dental-related. The variety of its symptoms often makes TMJ disorder difficult to detect and diagnose, and many patients can experience symptoms for years without knowing that the cause of their condition. Besides chronic headaches, other symptoms of TMJ disorder include;

  • Radiating pain in the face, jaw, and/or neck
  • Stiff and sore jaw muscles
  • Difficulty opening and closing your jaw
  • A popping or clicking sound when you open and close your jaw
  • Frequent earaches
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Habitual teeth grinding (bruxism)
  • Swelling on one or both sides of the face, around the TMJs
  • Fatigued facial and jaw muscles

About Your Rochester Dentist:

Dr. Gilly Calcagno is a member of the Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the American Dental Association, and the Minnesota Dental Association, and is active in local dental implant study clubs. To schedule a consultation, call Calcagno Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry today at (507) 281-3659.