HEAD, NECK AND FACIAL PAIN

If you suffer from head, neck or facial pain, consulting a dentist with expertise in diagnosing and treating such pain should be your first step in seeking relief! Head, neck and facial pain may be the result of a number of issues either alone or in combination. Only an expert in the area can help determine the cause of your pain.

Headache

Headaches are the number one pain problem in the US. One in eight Americans suffer from recurring headaches that are so severe they cannot carry out normal living! An estimated 80% of all headaches occur from muscle tension. In addition to tension, headaches may be caused by any of the following:

Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

Temporomandibular disorders refer to problems involving the temporomandibular joint, the "jaw joint" at the side of the face in front of the ear. There are two joints, one on either side of the face. The joint is comprised of the lower jaw bone (mandible), which fits into a cove in the temporal bone of the skull, and a disc that separates the two bones.

Due to the complex interaction between the jaw joint, its structures and other structures in the head and neck, patients with TMD often suffer from symptoms that are similar to a number of other related disorders, including the ones we have listed here:

  • Jaw noises
  • Headaches
  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Jaw pain
  • Ear ache or stuffiness
  • Ringing in ears
  • Dizziness
  • Poor posture
  • Non-restful sleep
  • Limited mouth opening
  • Difficulty eating

For more detailed information on Temporomandibular Disorders, please refer to the patient information included elsewhere on this site.

Neck and Facial Pain

For oncology patients, treatment of neoplastic disease can cause chronic head and neck pain issues. A multidisciplinary approach is preferred for the best outcome. For more information, please see Head & Neck Oncology Patients section.

For other patients, head neck and facial pain can be the result of numerous disorders, TMD among them. This is because these disorders not only produce pain in the affected area but also refer the pain, often to distant sites. These sites may not be intuitively associated with the area causing the pain.

This potential for referred pain can lead to confusion in diagnosis and is one of the primary reasons TMD is called the “GREAT IMPOSTER”. It is common for TMD to be confused with a great number of other diseases. It can cause symptoms throughout the upper half of the body, most commonly in the neck, shoulders and head.

In addition, TMD treatment can improve some of the symptoms of other disease processes even though TMD is not the primary cause.

When the true cause of your disease is not diagnosed, it is highly likely that whatever relief your treatment provides will be temporary. Consistent, beneficial, long term results depend on an accurate diagnosis.