Headaches & Dentistry


Neuromuscular Dentistry helps in treating headaches

On a recent flight, I was sitting next to an attractive, 40 year old lady named Shannon.  Her professional work as an accountant was demanding and required long hours at the office.  Shannon was gently rubbing her temples as we spoke.  She said that she had a headache, and would regularly suffer from headaches 2 to 3 times a week.

Shannon explained that when she had a headache, it started in the temple and spread to the top and back of her head. These headaches affected her daily productivity and her personal life. She said she found it hard to focus at work when her head throbbed and would end up taking painkillers and sleeping it off when she was at home.  She would regularly miss her son’s soccer games and her daughter’s dance classes and that bothered her. Her husband would have to take the children during those times and she felt both left out and guilty as she knew he was busy enough as it was.  Shannon also did not like to take medication but felt she had to just to keep going.

The majority of headaches are caused by muscle tension and this leads to pain.  When your teeth do not fit together properly, the head and jaws muscles have to work harder to fit the teeth together.  This causes unnecessary muscles tension and the muscles quickly become fatigued and tired. This also means that the muscles do not have a chance to rest and recuperate. Our head, neck and jaw muscles are used for swallowing, chewing, sitting in front of the computer, talking, holding the phone – every daily activity.  The muscle tension that develops when there is abnormal stress put on them is expressed as headaches.

Overworked muscles also suffer from poor circulation. This results in decreased oxygen reaching the muscles and accumulation of wastes because they are not being filtered out of the muscle cells.

According to Statistics Canada, 10% of the population experiences tension headaches on a regular basis (approximately 1 to 3 times a week) and 7 million work days a year are lost due to people calling in sick because they have a bad headache. There is no doubt that tension headaches are affecting our national productivity and infringing on our personal lives. Some people seek treatment for their headaches, but many don’t. If all these cases were reported, the statistics for how many people actually suffer from headaches could be substantially higher than 10%.

When your teeth fit together properly, the muscles of the jaws, head and neck work in harmony.  These muscles do not experience tension and stress.  They are relaxed all the time and do not feel pain.  Neuromuscular dentistry helps in aligning the bite, the way your teeth fit together, into a balanced position, so that the muscles, jaws and teeth are working together in harmony, rather than against each other.

If you experience headaches, neck, back and shoulder pain, on a regular basis, you will have some degree of disharmony due to an improper bite, and you may have ear pain or ringing or dizziness. This condition is known as Temporomandibular Disorder or TMD.  Neuromuscular Dentistry places the muscles, jaws and teeth into a balanced position, without surgery or long term medications.  By using a Dental Orthotic to align your jaws, muscles and teeth into a harmonious relationship, this allows your muscles to remain in a relaxed position all the time.

A life worth living should be worth living to the fullest.  We all deserve to excel in our home life as well as at work.  Each of us everyday should feel energized, enthusiastic and able to focus our energies on achieving our best, rather than focusing on pain due to muscle disharmony and imbalance. Now that you know your options, which will you choose?