Can Dentists Prevent Migraine Headaches?
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Can Dentists Prevent Migraine Headaches?

Migraines can come in different forms and can hurt the quality of your life. If you get regular migraines, you certainly want to know how to stop them and return to enjoying your life without pain. In most cases, they accompany symptoms like:

  • Extreme pain in one or both sides of the head
  • Blurred vision
  • Visual disturbances or aura
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Stiffness in the neck
  • Hyperactivity
  • Irritability and depression
  • Lightheadedness
  • Severe headache that doesn’t settle with OTC medication
  • Headaches that last up to 72 hours
  • Sensitivity to sounds

Causes of Migraines

Migraines have a variety of factors, including:

  • High serotonin levels in the brain
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Excess sodium intake
  • Stress and depression
  • Certain medications
  • Loud notices
  • Excessive light expose
  • Jet lag
  • Physical exertion
  • Strong smells
  • Processed foods
  • Certain underlying conditions
  • Barometric pressure changes

Migraines and Dentistry

While various factors can cause migraines, in some cases, they may have something to do with issues in your oral cavity. Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a common cause of migraines.

The temporomandibular joints are the joints that connect your lower jaw to the skull. They help you to perform certain oral functions like speaking, closing and opening the mouth, yawning, eating, and laughing without difficulty or discomfort.

For some reason, these joints can develop problems, resulting in mild to severe jaw pain, inflammation, and difficulties moving the jaw and mouth. TMJ pain can spread across these joints or muscles and travel to nearby structures, causing earaches, neck pain, and migraines.

Teeth grinding and clenching or bruxism are common causes of migraines. Chronic teeth grinding can cause excessive pressure and tension to your jaw muscles and joints, causing pain that can spread across the jaw to the skull, resulting in jaw pain, ear pain, tooth pain, and migraines.

Since bruxism mostly happens when asleep, most people may not know they do these things. Missing teeth or a misaligned bite can also cause pressure in the jaw and teeth, triggering migraines.

Common signs you may have underlying dental issues include:

  • Waking up with a painful jaw
  • Jaw pain
  • Difficulty or discomfort moving the jaw
  • Clicking, popping, or locking of the jaw
  • Pain when chewing
  • Ear pain
  • Neck pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pain closing or opening the mouth
  • Flattening teeth
  • Teeth damage like chips, breaks, and cracks
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive and painful teeth
  • Tight, sore, painful, and tired jaws

How can Dentists Prevent or Stop Migraines

If you suspect you have underlying dental issues that can cause migraines, visit our dentist near you for consultation. The dentist will examine your teeth, jaw, muscles, and mouth to determine the underlying problem and provide the necessary treatment.

Treating TMD can help prevent tightness, inflammation, and pain in jaw muscles and joints. It will also help prevent or stop the pain in the nearby structures like the neck, shoulders, and head.

If you have bruxism, the dentist can recommend dental devices. A custom mouth guard is a perfect preventive dental care appliance to minimize jaw pain, tooth damage, migraines, and other issues caused by teeth grinding. The mouth guard is worn over the upper or lower teeth, separating them from grinding against each other. It minimizes teeth damage, tooth pain, jaw stiffness and pain, and migraines.

If you have teeth misalignments like overcrowding, overbites, underbites, crossfires, and open bites, the dentist can recommend tooth extraction, surgery, and orthodontic treatments like traditional braces or clear aligners such as Invisalign to align your bite. You can replace missing teeth with dentures, dental bridges, or implants.

Other Helpful Lifestyle Changes

You can manage dental problems like bruxism and TMD by conservative measures like:

  • Exercises and physical therapy
  • Counseling programs to minimize stress
  • Meditation and yoga to reduce stress
  • Avoid tobacco products
  • Avoid excessive alcohol and drug abuse
  • Don’t chew your fingernails
  • Avoid chewing gum
  • Avoid or limit hard, chewy, or crunchy items
  • Treat underlying dental problems

Schedule an Appointment Today

Do you think dental problems may cause your migraines? Visit our New Westminster dental clinic or contact Asante Dental Centre for more information.