Headaches, Migraines, and Dentofacial Orthopedics

Apr 3, 2024

Headaches and migraines are more than just occasional pains; they can significantly impact daily life, affecting everything from productivity to mood. While there are various factors that can contribute to these debilitating headaches, one lesser-known area of exploration is the relationship between dentofacial orthopedics and headache relief. As an orthodontist and orofacial pain specialist, Dr. Daia has witnessed firsthand how addressing issues such as habits, misaligned teeth or jaw discrepancies can lead to remarkable improvements in patients’ headache symptoms. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the intriguing connection between headaches, migraines, orthodontics, and dentofacial orthopedics. Explaining some treatment approaches that can offer much-needed relief for those suffering from chronic head pain.

Oral Factors Causing Headaches and Migraines

Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD): The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the jaw to the skull, and any dysfunction in this joint can contribute to various symptoms, including headaches and migraines. TMD refers to a group of conditions that affect the TMJ and the muscles surrounding it. TMD symptoms may include jaw pain, TMJ pain, loss of jaw range of motion, TMJ clicking or popping noises, facial muscle tenderness, and headaches.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Bruxism, is defined by the NIH as a condition where a person grinds, clenches, or gnashes his or her teeth; it can occur when awake or asleep. Bruxism that happens while a person is awake is more common, but bruxism that happens during sleep has been studied more. Whether an individual has a perfect bite or a malocclusion they may grind their teeth subconsciously. This happens mostly out of habit and in some cases during periods of stress or anxiety. Bruxism could lead to myofascial pain and trigger headaches and migraines.

Jaw Muscle / Joint Strain: A misaligned bite could cause orthopedic imbalances in a few individuals; some may form a habit to subconsciously adjust their jaw position to find a more comfortable bite. That’s what we call a functional shift. This repeated strain on the jaw complex may lead to joint trauma, muscle fatigue and tension in turn resulting in myofascial pain, potentially causing headaches.

Airway Issues: A relationship has been established between TMD and airway obstruction. It inflicts an excessive amount of stress on the body, especially in conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea and TMD. Poor airway function during sleep can result in nocturnal bruxism which may trigger headaches and migraines. Our office provides oral sleep appliances approved to treat obstructive sleep apnea.

Addressing Dentofacial Orthopedic Discrepancies via Orthodontic and Orthognathic Treatments May Offer Relief for Headaches and Migraines

Evaluating patients who suffer from headaches, migraines, TMD and orofacial pain is an extensive and detailed process. Once the causes of the pain have been identified, all the tools in our arsenal will be utilized to solve these causes. Orthodontics, Dentofacial Orthopedics and related appliances are tools in that arsenal.

Correcting malocclusions and optimizing jaw function, orthodontic treatment could become invaluable in contributing to your overall health.

It’s essential to note, however, that not all headaches or migraines are directly related to dentofacial orthopedic and orthodontic problems. Other factors, such as stress, muscular tension, or medical conditions, can also contribute to these symptoms. If an individual is experiencing persistent headaches or migraines, it is crucial to take a multidisciplinary approach and consult with a healthcare professional, including a neurologist, TMD and orofacial pain specialist to determine the underlying causes and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Schedule your consultation with us at Daia Orthodontics & TMJ Orthopedics to help determine the cause of your headaches or migraines. If necessary, we will provide a personalized treatment plan to get you on your way to a healthy pain-free life!

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Dr. Daia is fully equipped to provide prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of orofacial pain disorders so you can live a pain-free, healthy life.

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