If you experience frequent headaches, there’s a good possibility it’s linked to a problem your dentist can help you with. At Andrea Stevens Dentistry in Kanata, ON we offer different treatments for headaches if they’re related to TMJ or sleep apnea. Continue reading to see if the cause of your frequent headaches is TMJ or sleep apnea.

A young woman holding her forehead with a headache. One of the top causes of frequent headaches is a temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ.

Headaches Caused By TMJ

One of the top causes of frequent headaches is a temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ. Tension headaches, referred pain headaches and migraines are all related to jaw dysfunction which is one of the causes of TMJ. Jaw dysfunction occurs when the jaw is not resting in a proper position which causes your jaw muscles to feel constantly tense therefore causing tension headaches. Although it makes sense for you to experience jaw pain from jaw dysfunction, the jaw muscles span all the way up the sides of your head and attach behind your eyes. This is why tension headaches are generally located behind the eyes.

Jaw dysfunction is also related to migraines. One of the triggers of migraines is when the trigeminal nerve finds itself under pressure. The trigeminal nerve has branches located under the jaw so when the jaw is dysfunctional, it’s common for the nerve to experience pressure and then cause migraines. Migraines can also occur when this nerve experiences an overload, usually from an imbalance of the jaw.

Referred pain headaches are the last type of headaches caused by TMJ. Referred pain is when your body experiences pain in a place that is not the source. For example, your jaw is the source but the headache is where you experience the actual pain.

In addition to headaches, if you experience clicking or popping in your jaw, you grind or clench your teeth while you sleep, your neck and jaw hurt, your bite feels off, or you have any ear pain, it’s likely you have TMJ. Please contact our dental office to learn more about TMJ diagnosis and treatment. With proper treatment, you can say goodbye to headaches and migraines for good.

Headaches Caused By Sleep Apnea

Another cause of frequent headaches is sleep apnea. When sleep apnea goes untreated, it’s common to wake up hundreds of times throughout the night to catch your breath – known as an apnea episode. When your body experiences an apnea episode, your airway collapses which often results in your jaw clenching to try and hold it open. This process repeats hundreds of times throughout the night which puts severe tension on the jaw. With jaw tension, it’s common to experience frequent headaches and jaw pain. In some cases, sleep apnea can even cause TMJ.

The lack of oxygen the body receives with sleep apnea can also cause headaches. The best way to address headaches caused by sleep apnea is to receive sleep apnea treatment. Talk to Dr. Andrea Stevens to learn more about our sleep apnea treatments in Kanata.

If you suffer from frequent headaches, it’s always best to rule out all possible causes. Contact Andrea Stevens Dentistry a call at 613.271.7091 to schedule an appointment to find out what’s causing your headaches.