TMJ and Splint Therapies

Suffering from migraines? The headache could be your teeth

The severe headache pain that appears to be a migraine could be caused by problems with your teeth or jaw. If you’re suffering from headaches, especially if they appear first thing in the morning, then consult your dentist as there are numerous things that can be done to control the pain.

What causes a dental migraine?

Teeth grinding – When we’re under stress, we grind our teeth subconsciously, especially at night. As well as weakening your teeth so that they are more vulnerable to cracks and sensitivity, the tension created by the grinding can cause a painful headache, easily confused with a migraine.

Jaw clenching – All sorts of strong emotions force us to clench our jaw whether we are aware of it or not. As with teeth grinding, the tension generated between the jaw bones creates muscular truama that causes migraines and dental headaches.

Temperomandibular joint dysfunction

(TMD) – This condition occurs when the upper and lower jawbones are misaligned. Teeth clash and muscles strain as our mouths perform their daily functions, such as  talking, chewing and yawning.

Extremely painful headaches can result from this mismatch of the upper and lower jaw.

What are the symptoms of a dental migraine?

Waking up first thing in the morning with a migraine or severe headache can be a sign that you have been grinding your teeth during the night. Abnormally sensitive teeth are also a sign that you have been teeth grinding. The pain often extends to the ears and sinus areas as well as behind your eyes.

If the reason for your dental migraine is TMD, your symptoms can include:

  • > Pain around your jaw joint as well as around the face, neck and shoulders.
  • > Difficulty opening your mouth.
  • > Lock jaw, this can happen when the mouth is open or
  • > A grating or clicking sensation when moving the
  • > A clashing of teeth when chewing.
  • > Facial swelling especially around the jaw

How can a dentist help relieve you from your dental

Migraine?

If your headache is caused by grinding your teeth or jaw clenching your dentist can fit what is known as an occlusal splint (worn during the day) or a mouth guard (worn during the night). This is made of hard or soft plastic that is fitted to your teeth and provides a barrier between the upper and lower jaw, preventing you from grating and clenching.

To treat TMD, splints and guards are also used to correct the misaligned bite. A dental assessment is made and some teeth can be filed down, crowns can be re-fitted and if needs be, teeth can be extracted to improve the patient’s bite.

Your dentist can also advise on exercises to loosen the jaw as well as suggest general relaxation techniques to reduce stress. So if you suffer from migraines, visit your dentist as help may well be on hand!