What is Craniofacial Pain?
If you look up “craniofacial” in the dictionary, it means, “relating to the cranium and the face.” In other words, craniofacial pain refers to any pain you experience in your head or face. Since craniofacial pain can include any part of your head, it is important to identify where the pain is projecting from. When a person experiences craniofacial pain, it can range from your jaw muscles, known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) to neck pain or headaches.
Craniofacial pain can cause TMJ discomfort, muscles spasms in the head, pain in the neck and jaw, headaches or even pain in your teeth. Some of the common culprits of craniofacial pain is an unstable bite, missing teeth or poorly aligned teeth. These instances can lead to pain and discomfort because your muscles are working harder to bring your teeth together. But the missing tooth or misaligned bite adds to the pressure, causing further pain.
Other important pieces of information
We have also found that craniofacial pain can be caused by grinding or clenching your teeth, which is also known as bruxism. Craniofacial pain can also be the result of trauma to the head or neck. It can even be caused by genetics, so pay close attention to your family history too.
But there is good news here—there are a variety of craniofacial pain treatment options available. One treatment option is the use of an oral appliance. Similar to a mouth guard for sports, an oral appliance is won over your teeth until your bite is stabilized and aligned. Yes, oral appliance therapy is temporary, but it is beneficial in the short term. It helps to improve your bite, but you might also need reshaping of your teeth, crowns, orthodontics or a permanent appliance for your mouth.
Other options might include physical therapy, counseling, relaxation training or massage therapy. Dr. Fuller will help decide the best option for you here. Contact us at Fuller Sleep & TMJ Solutions to learn more about craniofacial pain and what treatment options might work best for your individual condition.