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Dedicated to the best in dentistry
RP Advanced Dental and Implant Centre
156a Haverstock Hill, Belsize Park, London NW3 2AT
Contact us on 020 7722 4405

Migranes and Headaches

The way your teeth meet when your top and bottom jaws close down on top of each other is known as your 'bite'. If your teeth don't fit together properly, you could have malocclusion or 'bad bite', which can cause problems with your teeth, gums, the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) and the muscles in your face.

This misalignment, often referred to as TMJ disorder, can also cause some people to clench the jaw and grind their teeth at night. This can lead to facial pain, headaches, discomfort and clicking when biting or chewing, migraines as well as neck and shoulder pain, even back pain.

If you recognise any of these symptoms or suffer with these on a daily basis, you will need to see a dentist to treat your problems or refer you to a specialist if necessary.

In some cases, the treatment includes wearing a hard plastic appliance at night. This is made to measure and fitted onto your bite accurately, so that when you bite on it, your teeth are in a position where your muscles are relaxed. This also stops your teeth from becoming worn down by grinding and protects them. Depending on the origin and severity of your problem, you may need orthodontic treatment or maxillofacial surgery. Other solutions may include replacing missing teeth or adjusting any ill-fitting bridgework that you may have.

The important thing to do is see your dentist as soon as possible so your problem does not become worse over time and require more drastic measures to correct.

Jaw Problems

The way your teeth meet when your top and bottom jaws close down on top of each other is known as your 'bite'. If your teeth don't fit together properly, you could have malocclusion or 'bad bite', which can cause problems with your teeth, gums, the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) and the muscles in your face.

This misalignment, often referred to as TMJ disorder, can also cause some people to clench the jaw and grind their teeth at night. This can lead to facial pain, headaches, discomfort and clicking when biting or chewing, migraines as well as neck and shoulder pain, even back pain.

If you recognise any of these symptoms or suffer with these on a daily basis, you will need to see a dentist to treat your problems or refer you to a specialist if necessary.

In some cases, the treatment includes wearing a hard plastic appliance at night. This is made to measure and fitted onto your bite accurately, so that when you bite on it, your teeth are in a position where your muscles are relaxed. This also stops your teeth from becoming worn down by grinding and protects them. Depending on the origin and severity of your problem, you may need orthodontic treatment or maxillofacial surgery. Other solutions may include replacing missing teeth or adjusting any ill-fitting bridgework that you may have.

The important thing to do is see your dentist as soon as possible so your problem does not become worse over time and require more drastic measures to correct.

Jaw Tension in Migraine and Headaches

How is jaw tension implicated in headache and migraine?

If you grind your teeth and clench your jaws together it has been suggested that this can act as a trigger for headaches, particularly tension type headaches and even migraine. You may grind your teeth at night and not even really be aware that you do this. You may clench your jaw together in times of stress during the day and even in your sleep. Equally, if your jaw is in the wrong position the muscles which you use to move your jaw have to work harder and can get tired. This can lead to muscle spasm.

What are dental or occlusal splints?

Some people with headaches and migraine wear occlusal splints to try and reduce their teeth grinding and jaw tension in the hope of reducing their attacks. A dental or occlusal splint is a small plastic covering which fits over either your upper or lower teeth. For people who use these because of headaches or migraine, the splint is made of soft plastic and is usually worn just at night.

The splint separates your teeth which allows your jaw to find the most comfortable position and prevents common night time habits such as grinding your teeth and clenching the jaw.

How do I know if I would benefit from an occlusal splint?

If any of the following apply to you then you may like to consider an occlusal splint:

  • if you know that you grind your teeth at night
  • if you wake up with a tired aching or stiff jaw
  • if you wake up with a headache or migraine
  • if you experience pain behind your eyes
  • if you experience sinus pains
  • if you experience pain in your neck and shoulders

For more information please call one of our dedicated treatment coordinators on 020 7722 4405.