headache WacoDo you have frequent headaches? What about jaw pain? The two could be more closely related than you think, and the cause itself may be something you do unconsciously. If you grind your teeth during the night, the strain may be manifesting itself in areas other than just your teeth. Here to explain the connection between the jaw and headaches is your Waco dentist, Dr. Corbet Locke.

The Trigeminal Nerve

Did you know that one major nerve innervates most of the face and neck? That nerve is called the trigeminal nerve, and because of its function, strain in the jaw can manifest itself in headaches, facial pain, and other problems. Typically when a person suffers from frequent headaches alongside jaw pain, the culprit is a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. The TMJ is the joint that controls the opening and closing of the mouth, and when it comes under strain, as it often does from teeth grinding (bruxism), a disorder can develop, resulting in many symptoms that occur around the face and the neck.

Another Cause of TMJ Disorders

While bruxism is a very common cause of TMJ disorders, it is not the only one. Anything that results in strain on the TMJ can cause a disorder. Among these causes is malocclusion, or “bad bite.” Malocclusion occurs when the teeth of the upper and lower jaws do not fit together properly. Thus when chewing occurs, it imparts strain on the TMJ as the teeth are forced together.

Treatment for TMJ Disorders

The treatment for a TMJ disorder varies based on the cause. If bruxism is the culprit, your Waco dentist, Dr. Locke, may prescribe a mouthguard. This oral appliance, also called a sleep guard, is worn during the night so that it can protect the teeth and jaw from the forces of bruxism. However, if the cause of the TMJ disorder is malocclusion, a mouthguard will not be able to relieve the symptoms. Instead, your Waco dentist may recommend bite correction therapy.

Schedule a Visit with Your Waco Dentist

A dental mouthguard can protect your teeth and your jaw from damage. If you wake up with a sore jaw and sensitive teeth, don’t neglect dental care. Contact your Waco dentist, Dr. Locke, today by calling 254-776-4888. Our 76172 dental office serves patients from Waco, Woodway, McGregor, Hewitt, and surrounding communities.