New Patients (336) 290-7401

Current Patients (336) 226-0855

3450 Forestdale Drive Burlington, NC 27215

Headaches and Your Teeth

If you have chronic headaches, you have probably tried everything to reduce your pain. It can be tricky to figure out the cause of your headaches. However, it may be the key to getting rid of them. One component that you need to consider is your teeth. While they may seem like an unlikely factor, your teeth can truly be the problem. 

There are several conditions involving your teeth or jaw that can cause headaches. Additionally, there is a type of pain called “referred” pain. This means that you may feel the pain in your head, but the cause of your pain is somewhere else. For example, a toothache can make your head hurt. While the pain is in your tooth, the nerves can make the pain “refer” to your head or ear. 

Once you find the cause of your headaches, your dentist or doctor can help you reduce or eliminate the pain. 

Woman holding her head in pain from headache dentist in Burlington North Carolina

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

TMJ is a condition that affects your jaw joint. Specifically, TMJ can cause pain or discomfort within your jaw joint or with the surrounding muscles. You may only notice how much you use your jaw muscles once they begin to bother you. The jaw joint is responsible for opening and closing your mouth. Whenever the joint, ligaments, or muscles are damaged, it affects the joint’s ability to move without pain.

Initially, you may feel a popping or clicking sensation in your jaw. However, more severe cases can include headaches or a “locked” jaw. A frozen or locked jaw is not common with TMJ, but it is possible. There is not one singular cause of TMJ. In fact, it can be a combination of overuse of the joint, genetics, or an injury. There are several ways to treat TMJ, including rest, physical therapy, or surgery. 

One of the common symptoms of TMJ is frequent headaches. 


Another cause for your headaches can be bruxism or teeth grinding. Many people grind their teeth when they are stressed or anxious. However, teeth grinding is a common sign of a sleep disorder. This means that the patient may not even be aware that they grind their teeth because they are not awake when it happens. 

In addition to worn or chipped teeth, teeth grinding can cause headaches. This is because grinding teeth can put excess stress on your jaw. Unfortunately, this creates tension in your jaw and facial muscles. When this happens, you can get tension headaches. Additionally, your face may be tender to the touch. 

Tooth Pain

Having pain in your teeth can be a reason for headaches. Broken teeth or cavities can cause pain or discomfort. When the enamel receives damage, the sensitive nerves become exposed. Unfortunately, this may trigger a headache. With cavities, you can feel increased sensitivity to temperatures. However, you can experience more pain as the decay grows. This can cause pain in your teeth as well as your head.