If you’re struggling with chronic headaches or migraines, you may not immediately think about visiting the dentist, but for many people, this is the ideal solution. A skilled dentist can help you to understand the underlying causes of your headaches and provide guidance for treatments to relieve pain and help you feel your best every day. Keep reading to learn more about chronic headaches and how your dentist can help you feel better.
What “Counts” as Chronic?
Almost everyone experiences headaches from time to time due to prolonged exposure to loud noises, stress, lack of sleep, sinus issues, and a number of other factors. Many patients ask us when are headaches just “normal” headaches and when are they considered chronic or migraine headaches? Those who suffer from chronic headaches experience 15 or more days each month with symptoms. There can be chronic short term or long term headaches. Long term chronic headaches are the more severe type, and they include migraines. To be considered a migraine, the headache will typically last more than four hours, affect one or both sides of the head, cause a throbbing sensation, and lead to severe pain. Most people with migraines also typically experience nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound.
How can a Dentist Help?
One of many causes of chronic headaches and migraines actually doesn’t have anything to do with your head. Instead, it may actually be caused by a misaligned or improperly functioning jaw. The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect the jaw and skull bone. When they are strained or damaged, the result can be serious pain in the jaw, limited movement, and chronic headaches. Additionally, a misaligned jaw can lead to bruxism (unconscious teeth grinding and clenching) that can cause headaches when left untreated. A skilled dentist can help you with treatments to properly align your jaw, including occlusal adjustments using orthodontic treatments like braces. A custom crafted oral appliance can also be used to relieve excess strain on the jaw and stop unconscious teeth grinding and clenching. Over time, this can significantly reduce the number and severity of headaches.
Meet Dr. Hollinger
At Central Connecticut Orofacial Pain & Sleep Medicine, Keith Hollinger, DMD and his team offer a wide range of treatments to correct oral and whole body health concerns – including chronic headaches. When you’re ready to find out more, call our Glastonbury dental office to schedule a consultation visit today. We’ll partner with you to start relieving your headaches right away, so you can get back to your regular routine as soon as possible.