Headaches Truckee, CA

Dental concerns often cause symptoms outside the mouth, especially symptoms of bite and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). TMJ disorders occur when the joints that help with biting and chewing are under stress or not functioning properly. As a result, they can cause radiating pain and tension, including frequent headaches. Treating headaches in our Truckee, CA office can help relieve this pain.

Many people think these are tension headaches, but they seem to persist even after treatment. Also, not many people think to talk to their dentist about frequent headaches. This leads to headaches caused by TMJ dysfunction being misdiagnosed. Visiting a dentist experienced in TMJ-related issues is vital to discovering the true cause of your headaches.

Headaches in Truckee CA

Signs of TMJ Headaches in Truckee, CA

TMJ-related headaches typically occur in the morning after a night of teeth grinding or jaw clenching. These are common signs and symptoms of a bite problem. Dr. Baldwin looks for these signs during routine dental exams, including worn or damaged teeth. Still, many symptoms are not apparent upon examination and are often misdiagnosed:

  • Jaw pain or a crackling, popping, or grinding sound when the jaw moves
  • Ear pain or feeling of fullness in the ear
  • Hearing changes, ringing in the ears, dizziness
  • Neck and shoulder pain

There can be a wide range of underlying causes for TMJ or a bite problem. Proper diagnosis is the key to effective TMJ treatment that supports lasting dental health. Dr. Baldwin will evaluate your entire occlusal system, or your bite.

When he examines your bite, you will measure bite pressure. That way, he can look for the cause of the imbalance in your bite that leads to teeth grinding and other symptoms.

Many patients develop TMJ disorders due to stress or injury.

Treatment for TMJ Headaches in Truckee, CA

We want to help you treat TMJ symptoms like headaches and create a more comfortable bite. Our treatments for TMJ headaches include:

Mouthguard or Splint

We can create a custom TMJ mouthguard or night guard for you to wear during sleep. Nighttime teeth grinding is a common cause of TMJ headaches. We recommend night guards made of acrylic to prevent you from grinding your teeth.

Wearing a custom-fit oral appliance will help properly position your jaw. This will relieve pressure on your jaw and help treat symptoms like jaw and facial pain. The TMJ night guard will also protect your teeth from wear. Wearing a night guard to sleep can prevent you from waking up with morning headaches or migraines.

Bite Correction

If your bite is uneven or your teeth are not contacting properly and contributing to your TMJ disorder, Dr. Baldwin may recommend treatments, like orthodontics, to realign or adjust the teeth. Crooked teeth can create a misaligned bite, which creates uneven pressure. This pressure affects your jaw and TMJ, often leading to increased symptoms like headaches.

Other bite correction treatments may include dental crowns or dental bonding. A dental crown is a tooth-colored cap that can cover one or more damaged teeth. If you have tooth wear, we often recommend a crown to cover the worn tooth.

Tooth bonding uses resin to add structure to damaged teeth. We will often recommend bonding treatment if you have more minor restorative needs.

At-Home Treatment for Headaches

We encourage you to take steps outside the dentist’s office to reinforce your in-office treatment. When you encounter headaches, you can benefit from taking pain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Aspirin or ibuprofen are common medications that help keep the pain under control.

You should also avoid chewing hard food and repeatedly opening your mouth too wide. This can sometimes happen when yawning or chewing gum. Instead, when you begin to feel a yawn, gently press up on your chin. Sticking to a soft diet for several days can also relieve jaw and facial pain.

Reducing your stress can ultimately lessen long-term symptoms. Relaxation techniques and stretching can also relax your facial muscles and reduce headaches. To relax your jaw, place the tongue on the roof of your mouth. Remembering to maintain this position when stressed can prevent jaw tension from creating headaches. Make sure you do not cope with your stress by using alcohol or tobacco, as these will only make your symptoms worse.

Hot or cold compresses can also relieve your symptoms depending on where you feel pain. If you have jaw pain, we recommend heat to increase blood flow to tense jaw and facial muscles. Cold compresses can help relieve pain from tension in your head.

TMJ Headache FAQs

Learn more about headaches with answers to these common questions:

What does a TMJ headache feel like?

TMJ headaches are commonly reported as tension between the jaw and ears. Some patients may also feel pain from their head radiating to their neck or jaw. The pain may sometimes be sharp or feel like a dull ache.

How do I know if I have a TMJ headache?

The best way to know if dental issues cause a headache is to look for what nerve it may be coming from. The largest nerve in your head, the trigeminal nerve, controls your face, teeth, and gums. Irritation of this nerve can cause severe and chronic headaches.

If you have TMJ headaches, you can also experience facial pain, pain in your jaw, or tooth pain. You may also often wake up with headaches or jaw pain if you have a TMJ headache.

How long do TMJ headaches last?

TMJ headaches are usually chronic problems. They can last anywhere from one day to a few weeks. Receiving professional care for TMJ headaches will help lessen flare-ups.

Schedule A Dental Exam and Consultation Today

Do you have concerns about the fit and comfort of your bite? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Baldwin in his Truckee, CA, dentist’s office. You can also call our office today at (530) 206-0392.

Let us know if you have more questions about TMJ headaches. We will gladly answer them for you at your next visit.