Headaches can be debilitating, and are often caused by stressful situations. Other causes can include dehydration, and other underlying medical conditions and even some medications. A lesser known cause of headaches, however, is malocclusion, which is the name given to bite misalignment. Braces, or other orthodontics treatments, can help alleviate the symptoms of malocclusion-induced headaches.
In an ideal world, our top and bottom dental arches and teeth would be perfectly aligned with each other on opposite arches and work like gears. Molars would fit together seamlessly, while the top-front teeth would rest just in front of their lower counterparts.
But for a range of reasons, our teeth can grow misaligned or crooked, leading to problems with biting and speech, and place strain on the temporomandibular joints and muscles that control the jaw.
The temporomandibular joint controls the hingeing action between the upper and lower jaw. When excessive pressure is applied, the joint can become sore, and can even be pulled out of position altogether. Headaches, pains in the neck, cheeks or jaw, clicking sounds from the jaw and having trouble chewing or swallowing can all be symptoms of TMJ, or temperomandibular disorder.
Typical problems associated with malocclusions include crooked and misaligned teeth, overbites, underbites and the creation of hard-to-clean pockets which can harbor the bacteria that lead to tooth decay.
An orthodontist can address the issue of malocclusions through the use of braces. By using a series of brackets and tension wires, the orthodontist can slowly retrain and realign problem teeth into a more suitable position. In doing so, the alignment of the patient’s teeth is improved, leading to a better bite pattern, which in turn helps to ease pressure on the temporomandibular joint and surrounding muscles, effectively helping to remove the cause of malocclusion-related headaches.
Many people dismiss headaches as being caused by stress, but when accompanied by facial pain, or pain in and around the jaw areas, then misalignment of the teeth could well be a contributing factor.
If you are suffering from chronic headaches, please contact the office of Drs. Jay Ghosh and Trent Lofgren to see if malocclusion could be a possible cause. Call 214-547-0001 to schedule your visit today.