people, emotions, stress and health care concept - unhappy african american young woman touching her head and suffering from headache

Headaches and Bruxism

There are many causes for headaches, but a common cause is night time tooth clenching or grinding also known as Bruxism.   Excessive night time clenching and/or grinding can cause stress to already damaged temporomandibular joints, and place undue pressure on the chewing muscles, ligaments and tendons.  Bruxism causes abnormal wear of teeth and may cause tooth pain.

Sleep Apnea, Headaches and Bruxism

Bruxism is also associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  A restful night sleep is important for many essential body functions such as metabolism, the immune system, weight control, and mental health.  When deep sleep is interrupted and the flow of oxygen to the brain is not optimal, headaches, migraine headaches and head pain can become worse.  For some people with sleep apnea, there may be unconscious grinding of the teeth to push the jaw forward to help breathing.  Bruxism can interupt sleep and prevent a restful night.  Bruxism also can cause damage to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), jaw muscles and teeth.

Senior man can not sleep. He is sitting on his bed with headache.

Treatments for Bruxism

Treatments for Bruxism include:
-Night guards
-Medications to help reduce clenching
-Hypnosis and self-hypnosis

Night guards for bruxism help reduce overactivity of the muscles in the face, diminish muscle pain and referred headaches, and help protect the teeth during sleep.  Not all oral appliances are the same, and there is no one appliance that is appropriate for every situation and every person.

At Virginia TMJ we begin with a thorough head and neck exam using state of the art diagnostic equipment and techniques.  Our exams include:
-A review of medical and dental history
-Intraoral examination
-TMJ evaluation
-Cranial nerve evaluation
-Head, neck and muscle palpations
With the correct diagnosis, we design the treatment for the patient’s specific needs and severity of the disorder.  We will communicate with the patient’s dentist and physicians to coordinate care and assure the best outcomes.  We follow up treatment with maintenance care to assure continued improvement.

Our Goal

Our goal is to reduce your pain, promote healing and improve your quality of life.  Let us help you be yourself again.

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