Why Teeth Grinding May Be to Blame for Your Migraine Headaches

Why Teeth Grinding May Be to Blame for Your Migraine Headaches

Bruxism 一 a condition in which you unconsciously grind or clench your teeth 一 can put so much stress on your teeth that they cause dental emergencies, such as fractures, chips, and cracks. 

The complications of bruxism don’t stop with chipped teeth. Clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth can also cause temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and even migraines.

But how do you know if teeth grinding is the source of your migraines? That’s the question that our expert providers at Loudoun Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Leesburg, Virginia, are here to answer.

How bruxism leads to migraines

Bruxism can happen when you’re awake or asleep, but even if you’re awake, bruxism is still an unconscious clenching. As you grind your teeth, your jaw muscles tighten. Tensing your jaw muscles can affect other muscles in your skull, which contributes to headaches or, for some people, migraines. Teeth grinding and jaw clenching can also cause ear pain as well as neck and shoulder pain.

Additionally, bruxism leads to migraines if your trigeminal nerve system is affected. If muscle tension irritates or pinches the trigeminal nerve, the result is a throbbing migraine.

In other words, bruxism causes migraines because of increased muscle tension and irritation of your trigeminal nerve system.

How do you know if teeth grinding causes your migraines?

While bruxism can and does cause migraines, it’s important to know that there are many different migraine triggers, including bright lights, stress, lack of sleep, dehydration, and artificial sweeteners. It’s not always easy to pinpoint the source of your migraines (at first), but keeping a diary of your symptoms can help you find your triggers. 

When logging information about your migraines, take note of when the migraines start, your stress level that day, any other symptoms you have, and what you ate. These details can hint at bruxism’s role in your migraines.

Bruxism might be the culprit if:

Left untreated, bruxism continues to cause headaches, TMJ pain, and increase your risk of broken teeth. So if you suspect you’re dealing with bruxism, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

As experienced providers, Haidy Messih, DDS and Basma Armanious, DMD know firsthand how bruxism can cause a ripple effect, and are ready to address the many issues caused by bruxism whether it’s a chipped tooth, jaw pain, or migraines. Depending on your specific needs, we may recommend a night guard to protect your teeth as you sleep. In the event that a bad bite is contributing to your bruxism, you may benefit from Invisalign® clear aligners.

In the meantime, you can help alleviate the discomfort of a bruxism-induced migraine with these tips:

If you suspect that teeth grinding is to blame for your migraines, give us a call to learn more about your bruxism options today. You can also schedule an appointment at Loudoun Family and Cosmetic Dentistry via our online form.

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