Help for Your Headaches

Help for Your Headaches

Chronic headaches can have a serious negative impact on your quality of life. If your headaches are migraines — as is the case for 18% of women and 6% of men each year — you may even find them debilitating.

You may not think that your headaches have much to do with your dental health, but you might be surprised at how many headaches are caused by dental problems. Fortunately, many dental health-related headaches are also treatable. Dr. Joseph Z. Yousefian of Yousefian Orthodontics for Children, Teens and Adults in Bellevue, Washington, explains more about how dental issues are linked to your headaches and how they can be treated.

The cause of headaches

Headaches may be characterized as either primary or secondary. 

Primary headaches

Primary headaches are problems with pain-sensitive parts of your head but are not usually associated with other diseases. Primary headaches include:

Primary headaches can have lifestyle triggers, including caffeine or alcohol, certain foods, hunger, poor posture, stress, and lack of sleep.

Secondary headaches

Secondary headaches are often a symptom of another disease or health condition that stimulates sensitive nerves in your head. Some of these causes of secondary headaches include:

Often, both primary or secondary headaches are very treatable.

How dental problems can contribute to headaches

The muscles in your face and jaw can contribute to headaches, especially if these muscles become strained while you’re under stress. Other causes of dental headaches include misalignment of your teeth or jaw, which puts more strain on your muscles as well.

TMJ disorder is a common cause of headaches

Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a common cause of headaches. This joint works like a hinge when you open and close your jaw and connects your jaw to your skull. Ordinarily, this joint moves smoothly, both up and down and side to side, without any difficulty.

TMJ disorder occurs when this joint doesn’t work as it should. Symptoms of TMJ disorder include:

How we treat TMJ disorder

TMJ is persistent but treatable. A couple of the treatment options Dr. Yousefian uses to treat TMJ disorder include:

Botox® injections

Botox is a purified form of Botulinum toxin, which is sometimes present in improperly canned food and in the environment. When the toxin is purified and administered in very small amounts by injection, it freezes the muscles. Freezing the facial muscles around your TMJ can reduce or eliminate the pain.

Platelet-rich plasma

Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, uses factors present in your own blood to stimulate your body’s natural healing power. This procedure starts with a simple, ordinary blood draw. Then, we spin your blood in a centrifuge to extract and concentrate the plasma it contains. The concentrated plasma is then injected into your facial muscles, which can allow healing to begin.

Other treatments

If you don’t have TMJ disorder but your teeth are causing headaches due to misalignment, this is also fixable. Sometimes, a simple round of wearing Invisalign® or traditional braces can correct this misalignment, which resolves your headaches in the process.

If you have frequent headaches, it’s worth a visit to Dr. Joseph Yousefian of Yousefian Orthodontics for Children, Teens and Adults to see if dental issues are the cause. Call our office today or request an appointment online.

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