If you suffer from chronic headaches, a dental bite problem could be to blame.
Headache pain can be difficult to diagnose and treat. In seeking relief, you may have already seen your physician and tried potential medical remedies. But if your frequent headaches continue, it may be time to see an oral surgeon.
For some patients, resolving their constant headache pain requires treatment for problems with their bite.
How Do Bite Problems Cause Chronic Headaches?
Frequent headache pain is often the result of tension. Doctors estimate that up to 80 percent of adults suffer tension headaches. For some patients, the problem is chronic, occurring more than 15 days out of every month.
The exact cause of tension headaches is not scientifically understood. Many medical experts believe that this vise-like headache pain is related to stress and strain in the muscles of the head and neck. For many patients, a problem bite contributes to that muscle strain.
When the upper and lower teeth don’t line up or fit together properly, the muscles in the jaw must work harder with every swallow to compensate for the imbalance. Since we swallow more than 2,000 times each day, a problem bite can really give the facial muscles a workout.
When these muscles are overworked, they begin to ache. Thanks to the body’s complex nerve structure, the pain can then radiate throughout the head.
Symptoms of Headaches Related to a Bite Problem
Tension headaches can manifest on one or both sides of the head, in the cheeks or in the jaw joints. Some patients report dull, aching pain while others experience a feeling of pressure or tightness across the forehead or around the head. The discomfort may also spread down through the neck and shoulders.
If your chronic headaches are the result of a problem bite, other symptoms may be present.
Patients may have sore or tired jaw muscles when they wake up in the morning, and they may grind their teeth at night and/or during the day. The jaw joints may make popping or clicking sounds, and you may have pain behind the eyes. If your head is painful to the touch, this is also a sign of a dental tension headache.
Bite Problem Treatment Can Relieve Chronic Headaches
If your chronic headaches are the result of a problem bite, physical therapy or an oral splint may provide relief.
For many patients, however, surgical correction of the problem may be necessary to cure the headaches for good. Corrective jaw surgery, known as orthognathic surgery, can restore a balanced facial structure and relieve chronic tension headaches.
If nonsurgical treatments have failed to solve your headache pain, the experienced treatment team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah may be able to help. Call one of our convenient Salt Lake City area offices today to schedule a consultation to explore your chronic headaches and potential bite problem.