HEADACHE & MIGRAINE TREATMENT & RELIEF:
Head pain associated with pain and discomfort around Jaw, Teeth or Face. Includes Dental, Occlusion, Mouth & Jaw conditions.
Your specialist Dentist or Orthodontist can provide expertise.
General Dental Problems
Many dental problems can lead to face and head pain, & dentists have a good understanding of the possible mechanisms which can lead to this phenomenon. For more information on general dental problems which can lead to head and face pain, see the 'roll-over' section for 'dental-jaw' problems on the home page and click on the section for 'other jaw / dental problems'. This section includes information on such topics as tooth decay and gum disease, for which general dental procedures can be most beneficial in treating these problems and alleviating pain which may be contributing to the overall headache pain or migraine pain.
Jaw Problems (TMD)
When the cause of TMD (Temporo-mandibular joint dysfunction) can be shown to be related to the teeth, the correct management should be directed toward the teeth, and at the way the upper and lower teeth meet.
If the unevenness of the teeth is fairly minor, it may be possible to address the imbalance by simple "grinding" of a number of teeth which will remove any premature contact and thus permit the jaw to close smoothly together.
If there are teeth missing, such that normal chewing actions and movements are unable to take place, the missing teeth should be replaced with some form of artificial appliance or implant(s).
Often, however, the degree of unevenness of the bite is more complex or may not be readily discernible and it is necessary to undertake treatment with an occlusal splint to restore normal, relaxed muscle activity before it is possible to determine the proper closing pattern of the jaw.
Occlusal splints are typically made out of a plastic material and are so designed to allow the jaw to close without interference from the opposing teeth. Whilst the splint is initially uncomfortable, it is readily accepted within a day or two. Over a period of up to six months, the splint enables the muscles to relax and operate normally. It is usually after a period of splint therapy that the interfering teeth become most obvious and a decision made regarding further management. If further tooth grinding can restore the bite this should be undertaken.
However, it may become obvious that errors in the tooth positions are too severe to be able to be addressed by occlusal grinding. Orthodontic treatment will then be considered to move the teeth into the correct position and produce an even jaw closure.
Surgery may be required in very severe cases of TMD when the cause(s) can be localized to the joint itself with considerable damage having been done to the joint. Because of the harshness of surgery, it is pursued as a last resort, when all other, more conservative treatment regimens have been shown to be unsuccessful in alleviating the problems.
The causes of TMD are frequently multifactorial and management of only one of these factors is unlikely to alleviate completely the symptoms. It is important that the causes be fully investigated by a practitioner who is experienced in TMJ related problems. If the causative agent is deemed to be of dental origin an experienced dentist or dental specialist should be consulted for the optimal advice and treatment.
TMD problems can often be implicated as a source of irritation to headache and migraine sufferers and should be considered where a headache or migraine sufferer complains of jaw related problems.
Dr Gregory White BDSc(Melb) MDSc(Melb) LDS
Dr Greg White, completed his General Dental Studies Melbourne University in 1976 and his Orthodontic studies at Melbourne University in 1993. He conducts an Orthodontic practice, including TMJ & TMD management for Adults & Children.
Phone: (03) 9882 8384
565 Riversdale Rd
CAMBERWELL, VIC 3124 AUSTRALIA
724 High Street
EPPING, VIC 3076 AUSTRALIA
A referral from a dentist is NOT necessary.
All cases of headache & migraine need to be properly diagnosed by a trained health care professional first.your family doctor is ideally positioned to help make decisions with you and co-ordinate any therapeutic trials. Many cases have a number of causes (not just one), so it is important to consider a combination of therapies / or approaches when this is the case.
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