What is a headache?
According to Wikipedia:
Headache is the symptom of pain anywhere in the region of the head or neck. It occurs in migraines (sharp, or throbbing pains), tension-type headaches, and cluster headaches. … Treatment of a headache depends on the underlying cause, but commonly involves pain medication.
There have been many articles written on the various causes of headaches, including Many articles on how to treat those headaches… but did you know that a dental malocclusion and bruxism can also create throbbing and pounding headaches?
Headaches when eyes moving
This is a very common symptom of headaches, there is a huge range of causes for these symptoms but generally dental problems are not the cause of headaches when moving eyes.
Bruxism – Grinding teeth in sleep
So, let’s look at how dental problems can cause headaches. One of the biggest ones is bruxism.
What causes bruxism?
Bruxism has two primary causes:
Clinical/physical causes of bruxism can often be due to the way the teeth meet, known as a malocclusion. Various treatments such as re-equilibration (selective grinding) by the dentist of parts of the tooth which interfere with one another can help enormously, as can orthodontics to move teeth to new positions so that they meet without these interferences. As well as headaches, bruxism can also lead to significant tooth wear.
Habitual bruxism can also develop as a result of the dental malocclusion but it will be significantly exacerbated by external factors such as stress.
The treatment of dental related headaches
Both types of bruxism can be treated with orthodontics and also night splints.
Orthodontics can help to move teeth in to positions where they don’t interfere with each other in normal use. Sometimes your back teeth cusps may knock against each other when your teeth slide from side to side, the muscles around your jaw, face, head and neck will compensate for this so you may not even notice. It’s this compensation that can cause the headaches.
Orthodontics can move teeth to positions where this doesn’t happen and night splints can help to reset those muscles at night, therefore helping them relax. Night splints are a smooth clear plastic night guard, similar to a sports protection guard, that are worn on the lower teeth usually. They are thin and comfortable to wear and simply stop the teeth from meeting – because the teeth can’t meet the muscles ‘forget’ to compensate and relax over night.
If you have headaches and believe it may be caused by your teeth then speak to your dentist who will be able to advice on the best course of action.
This post has been written by Dr Ajay Murgai, he is a highly experienced General and Cosmetic Dental Surgeon. Dr Ajay runs clinics in Hertfordshire, South Oxfordshire and Harley Street, and carries out a full spectrum of treatments from Aesthetic Dentistry to routine examinations.