HEALTHY MOUTH & GUMS
Headaches and migraines
If you have unexplained chronic head or facial pain, as holistic neuromuscular dentists we look at the complex relationship of bones, muscles and teeth to determine the underlying cause of the pain.
How does TMJ imbalance cause headaches?
The teeth and jaws are often a major factor in causing headaches, and can be overlooked by medical practitioners.
The neck vertebrae and jaw position are impacted when there is a ‘malocclusion’ (the dental term for when there’s a problem in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together) which results in uneven contact while chewing.
In particular, the upper two neck vertebrae, C1 and C2, have a direct correlation to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) balance. Manually adjusting these vertebrae time and again without addressing the TMJ balance will not create a lasting solution for stability. It causes the neck vertebrae to rotate in opposite directions, which sets up pain referral to the head.
So what happens to cause the pain?
There are two main causes
1. When the upper jaw is canted up on one side, the lower jaw is forced to move upwards more on that side to get the teeth together, and the head tilts to one side…
The muscles and blood vessels can become constricted, causing pounding head pain to the front of the head. This can result in headaches and migraine headaches.
2. Grinding and clenching the teeth excessively (bruxism) can overstress the muscles, creating muscle spasm and trigger points…
These trigger points can then refer pain to other parts of the head, and to the teeth and jaws. It can be more severe when the bite doesn’t meet harmoniously, the jaw is in the wrong alignment, or there are missing teeth.
Neuromuscular dentistry approach
In our experience, it is very important to correct the structural imbalances first – the teeth, TM joints and bite position, as well as aligning the neck and other vertebrae correctly – as this can help with pain relief and opens the way to long-term relief.
We find that once the structure has been balanced there is less inflammation and tension in the body – and often the underlying triggering factors are then less of an issue and easier to treat.
You may like to read the article about our holistic approach to the age-old problem of treating headaches.