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If you are living with frequent or chronic migraines, your family dentist may be your most valuable resource. Most patients who suffer from severe headaches tend to dismiss the pain as the cost of a busy or stressful lifestyle. They may suffer in silence or rely on medications for relief.

Though a large percentage of migraine cases can stem from stress, dehydration, or other forms of stimulation, there is a possibility that there is an underlying dental problem.

Bruxism, or the clenching and grinding of the teeth, can generate such extreme forces that headache and neck pain can become a daily reality. Many adults clench or grind the teeth during sleep, a time when the habit is most difficult to manage. Clenching and grinding can also occur during the day, when most adults are subjected to tremendous levels of stress. Intense concentration, strenuous exercise, or a nervous habit can trigger this condition.

As the teeth come together, a great deal of occlusal force can be generated, traumatizing the dental nerves in the teeth, gums, and surrounding bone. This extreme motion also activates the muscles of the jaw joint, extending to the head and neck. In fact, these muscles form an intricate network and are responsible for our ability to chew, speak, and control the movements of the head and neck.

Aside from clenching and grinding, severe headaches can also be caused by poor occlusion. When the teeth fail to fit together properly, even normal biting and chewing can strain the joints and muscles, triggering chronic pain.

Collectively, headaches and other symptoms that are related to the muscles of the jaw and skull are referred to as TMD/TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder). Your family dentist is the expert who can evaluate your symptoms and recommended the most appropriate treatment.

Treatment recommendations can range from conservative to aggressive, depending upon the degree of the disorder. Relaxation, behavioral changes, surgery, and even orthodontic treatment can relieve the muscle strain and stop the migraines.

Contact Fielder Park Dental in Arlington TX at 817-275-4817 and schedule your appointment to determine if your migraine headaches could be signaling an underlying dental problem.