Could Bruxism Be Causing Your Headaches?
Do you often wake up in the morning with a headache? Or do you suffer from migraines that come out of the blue? If that’s the case, it’s important to look at what’s causing your headaches. While headaches can be caused by many different factors like stress, bad posture, excessive consumption of alcohol and eyesight problems, you may be surprised to hear that your teeth can also play a role in these headaches you’ve been experiencing.
If you suffer from persistent headaches, it could be because of teeth grinding and clenching, a condition that’s also known as Bruxism. Headaches caused by Bruxism are pretty common. The best way to find out if Bruxism is the culprit is by visiting a dentist, who will look for the underlying signs of chronic teeth grinding.
If you suffer from morning headaches or jaw pain, keep reading this article, where we will take a closer look at Bruxism and talk about how to deal with headaches caused by it.
What is Bruxism?
When we sleep, we do many things that we’re not aware of. For instance, it could be snoring, sleep talking or even walking. Another common thing some of us do unconsciously in our sleep is grinding or clenching our teeth.
Also known as Bruxism, teeth grinding is a condition where you unconsciously grind your teeth. It can occur due to various factors such as stress, deep concentration, an abnormal bite or a sleep disorder like Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.
Common Signs of Bruxism
Headaches, sore jaws and facial aches are common symptoms that are a result of the constant pressure on your jaw joints caused by bruxism.
- Headaches upon waking up in the morning
- Sore or tender jaw and facial muscles
- Stiff neck
- Sinus pain
- Tooth sensitivity as a result of tooth wear
- Chipped and cracked teeth
- Limited functionality and range of motion
As you can see, headaches aren’t the only side effects of teeth grinding. Bruxism can also impact your teeth, leading to wear and tear as a result of the excessive strain and pressure on your jaw. It can also lead to dental problems such as tooth sensitivity, tooth fractures and loose teeth. Left untreated, you could even end up needing dental restorations to save your smile and restore the functionality of your teeth.
How Does Bruxism Cause Headaches?
The Temporomandibular Joint, or the TMJ, is a joint located on either side of your jaw to help control its movement. When you clench or grind your teeth, it puts a lot of strain and pressure on your jaw and the TMJ. This constant pressure can cause fatigue around these muscles and joints, which can then spread all the way up to your neck, head, face and back, causing those headaches.
How are Bruxism-Related Headaches Diagnosed?
Since clenching and grinding happen unconsciously without you even noticing it, it can be difficult to connect Bruxism to your headaches or migraines. This is why it’s important to visit the dentist or a doctor to diagnose this condition.
When you visit us at Purity Dental with such symptoms, we will assess your teeth for signs of wear and tear common with teeth grinding. Moreover, we will also check how well your jaw functions, listen to any popping or clicking sounds in your jaw as it moves. If the signs point to teeth grinding and clenching, we will recommend treatments to help with Bruxism and those recurring headaches.
How Can You Treat Bruxism?
Made from hard plastics, mouthguards are oral appliances prescribed by dentists to protect your teeth from excessive pressure and strain. While you can purchase off-the-shelf mouthguards, they won’t reduce the pressure from bruxism the same way a custom-made mouthguard does.
Bite Splints/Night Guards
Bite splints or night guards are custom-made by the dentist using a special dental acrylic. Designed to fit your jaw and bite perfectly, they prevent your teeth from rubbing against each other in your sleep. This helps reduce pressure and protects your teeth from wear and tear, relieving you of those annoying headaches.
In addition to these methods, there are some other ways in which you can reduce the effects of bruxism and relieve your headaches. These include:
- Practice good sleep habits – Grinding can occur more frequently if you don’t have healthy sleep patterns. So, one of the first things you should do is to practice good sleep habits. This includes habits like restricting alcohol, caffeine intake and smoking before heading to bed.
- Limit screen time before bed – Watching TV or scrolling through your phone at night can disrupt your sleep. Try unplugging at least one hour before bedtime to ensure a good night’s sleep.
- Practice meditation and other relaxation techniques – Since stress is connected to bruxism, it is important to manage stress and anxiety. You can try relaxation exercises such as meditation and yoga to alleviate these issues.
- Physical therapy – Our dentists may recommend physical therapy in cases of severe TMJ disorder to strengthen your jaw muscles and improve function.
- Medication – If bruxism is linked with anxiety or stress, certain medications may be prescribed to help manage these underlying issues.
- Injectables – These are natural muscle relaxants that can ease tension around your jaw, face and forehead, helping you relieve your headaches.
Bruxism, if left untreated, can lead to significant health problems and affect the quality of your life. That is why you should never ignore your headaches or dismiss them as minor concerns. Visit Purity Dental as soon as possible if you experience symptoms of Bruxism to get the care you need. Our team will help you alleviate your pain so you can enjoy peaceful nights of sleep and headache-free mornings every day!