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Can Migraine Headaches Signal a Dental Problem?

Migraine headaches are often severely debilitating, and many people will suffer from a migraine headache throughout their lives. Migraines are most often brought on by stress, but there are other factors that can trigger an attack.

Most often, those who experience recurring migraines will seek medical advice from their doctor; but a migraine could also be attributed to dental issues, and maybe a warning of dental problems. However, most migraine sufferers don’t think to consult their dentist when they experience migraines.

Migraines could be caused by issues concerning our teeth or jaws. Our jaw plays a major part in our oral makeup, as it controls how we bite, and how we speak, and the condition of our teeth can have an effect on our jaw; a misaligned bite, for example, can lead to temporomandibular disorder, which causes pain in the jaw joints.

Bruxism, which is described as the subconscious grinding or clenching of teeth, can damage teeth and place pressure on the mandibular joints, leading to intense pain. Of course, our jaw bone and mandibles are surrounded by muscles, ligaments and cartilages, and when muscles become agitated they too can have a detrimental effect, and cause headaches.

But very few people will consult a dentist when they experience migraines; indeed, they may well be stressed and attribute the cause of the migraine to the feeling of stress. Treatments include painkillers and rest, perhaps with some relaxation techniques in the hope the headache subsides.

Recurring migraines, or those which do not respond to painkillers, will require further investigation. A dentist can examine a sufferer’s teeth and jaw to look for signs of damage, such as caused through bruxism, or infection through tooth decay. They can also check the movement of the jawbone, and dental x-rays can be taken to check for temporomandibular disorder.

If present, the dentist can advise on ways to alleviate the symptoms; perhaps through wearing teeth-guards while asleep that will protect and cushion teeth from clenching and grinding and minimizing the effects of bruxism. This will also help ease the pressure on the mandibular joint and surrounding muscles, helping them to relax and heal.

So, the next time you suffer from a migraine, it may not be caused by stress or the pressures of everyday living, but by dental causes, and a visit to the dentist could provide untold relief from the discomfort of migraine headaches.

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