38 million Americans suffer from migraines. Worldwide the number shoots up to 1 billion. As the 3rd most common illness in the world, there has been extensive research on why people get migraines. Though genetics, tension, and anxiety are often cited as the culprits, dental health is commonly overlooked. Unfortunately, many don’t think to talk to their dentist if they experience migraines.
What dental issues can trigger a migraine?
- Bad bite: a migraine can be caused by muscular tension that builds up in the face and jaw. This tension is a result of malocclusion, or a “bad bite.” This means that when the jaw is closed, the chewing surfaces of the teeth fail to join in a smooth line. A bad bite is often created by incoming wisdom teeth or previous orthodontic or dental work. In response, the jaw muscles are continually trying to compensate for the resulting disproportion.
- TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder): TMJ is often identified by a clicking or popping when the jaw opens and closes. The Temporomandibular joint oversees the sliding and hinging of the jaw. The majority of the time, TMJ is caused by a shock to this joint in the form of sports trauma or whiplash. Other causes of TMJ include cartilage damage by arthritis or abrasion of the shock absorbing disk. If you are experiencing earaches, jaw stiffness, pain and sensitivity in the face or jaw, or a grinding sound when the jaw opens you may be suffering from TMJ.
- Bruxism: Nearly 10% of the U.S. population is affected by Bruxism, otherwise known as teeth grinding. If you often wake up with headaches that eventually recede as the day moves forward, you may be grinding your teeth at night. The clenching of the jaw and teeth grinding can result in tooth wear and jaw soreness. Migraines can form due to the stress on the facial and neck muscles when clenching the jaw.
If you suffer from consistent migraines, consider scheduling a consultation with the Drs of Smiles at 480.834.6991. If we determine that dental issues are to blame, we can start a treatment plan to help you live pain-free today.