Teeth grinding headaches
People often mistake chronic, intense headaches for migraines or sinus headaches when, in fact, the underlying problem is muscle tension caused by teeth grinding.
Headaches from teeth grinding can be excruciating, but they’re often misdiagnosed. Even though teeth grinding usually happens at night, it's possible to experience the headaches during the day. So, it’s easy to miss the connection.
How do you know, then, if grinding your teeth is causing your headaches? And what should you do about it? Noticing your habits and the location of your headaches can tell you a lot.
Start by keeping a headache diary.
Keep a headache diary for a few weeks. Write down when and where you get headaches, how bad they are, and what you were doing before they began.
Keeping a diary might help you spot clear causes. For instance, if you get headaches when you eat certain foods, those foods seem like a good culprit. But sometimes identification is more a process of elimination. If the headaches are chronic with no clear triggers during your waking hours, the problem could be occurring when you sleep.
Note the location of your headaches.
Headaches from teeth grinding usually start near the jaw. The pain might begin at the top of the jaw, by the temple, the ear, or the cheekbones. It might start behind the ear or even feel like it’s coming from inside the ear. And it might start along the sides of the neck right where they meet the skull next to the jaw.
However, even though these headaches start near the jaw, they can spread to affect the entire head. So, in your headache diary make sure to note the first place you started feeling pain.
Consider whether you might be grinding your teeth.
Grinding your teeth can appear as a result of stress and anxiety or as a side effect of certain medications, such as antidepressants. You could, also, have physical issues with your tooth alignment or jaw structure that cause grinding. And sleep apnea, a breathing disorder during sleep, can be an underlying cause.
You should have your dentist check your teeth for signs of grinding. These will be hard for you to spot on your own. Additionally, if you think you may have sleep apnea, consult a doctor about treatment options because sleep apnea can lead to a number of health concerns.
Pay attention to your jaw tension when you’re awake.
Teeth grinding, or bruxism (the clenching or grinding of your teeth) can occur when you are awake, and you may be so used to it that you don’t even notice.
When you’re sitting and working at a computer, when you’re watching a movie or reading a book, take time to notice whether you keep a lot of tension in your jaw. Stay alert to any habits you might have of rubbing your teeth together or clenching them tightly.
The problems with teeth grinding go beyond headaches.
If you suspect you’re grinding your teeth, know that your problems may go beyond headaches or jaw pain over time. People can do a lot of damage to their teeth through years of grinding. You will wear down the surfaces of your teeth, and you can even wind up chipping or damaging teeth.
You may find yourself with TMJ or in need of expensive dental work down the road. So, treating the cause of your headaches can prevent a range of other issues.
Choose a long term solution.
To relieve headache pain once it’s started, focus on breathing into and relaxing the muscles of your jaw and skull. If the pain is bad, take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Some people find hot and cold compresses useful in getting blood supply to increase or decrease in certain muscle groups.
However, you don’t always want to be stuck treating the pain symptoms. The bottom line is to get to the root of the problem. If you’ve identified jaw tension and teeth grinding as the source of your headaches, you will need a mouth guard to address the source of your pain.
What is a mouthguard
A teeth grinding mouthguard goes over your teeth and protects them throughout the night. It absorbs shock from teeth clenching and can alleviate jaw pain and headaches. Most people wear the guard on their upper teeth, and mouth guards can come in a variety of designs, materials, and densities. Medium density is usually the sweet spot for providing the right balance of comfort, protection, and durability.
Get a mouthguard that fits you well.
You can buy a range of generic mouthguards at pharmacies or online, but doing so often leads to nights (sometimes months) of trial and error with different sizes and designs. Some people never find a really perfect fit. And if the mouthguard doesn’t fit well, it won’t effectively treat the symptoms brought on by teeth grinding and jaw tension.
Alternatively, you can have a dentist fit you for a mouthguard. This will create a custom fit that will do a much better job of treating the issue, but it can be expensive. Too many people simply can’t afford spending hundreds of dollars on a mouthguard.
Choose the third option.
At TeethNightGuard.com, we combined the best of both worlds. By allowing you to order a mouthguard online, we keep the process easy and affordable. And by making your mouthguard based on an impression kit, we create a quality product specifically tailored to fit your mouth.
It’s a simple process that customers love time and again: you’ll receive a kit to make an at-home impression, you’ll ship it back, and we’ll build the mouthguard to fit you. In short, you’ll receive a professionally customized mouth guard and carry case for a fraction of the price you would pay at a dentist’s office. It’s easy, affordable, and it can treat your pain in an effective and long term manner. To find out more, check out our process here.
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