How Teeth Grinding/Bite Problems Causes Migraines and What You Can Do About It

teeth grinding causes migraines

What causes headaches?

Doctors and researchers have been struggling to find the answer to that question for years. And it’s no wonder why:  Millions of people suffer from painful headaches and migraines regularly – and they’re desperate for relief.

In fact, according to the World Health Organization, headache disorders are the most common nervous system disorders. It’s been estimated that nearly half the population has had at least one headache in the past year.

Migraine sufferers, though, tend to have an episode more frequently – sometimes as often as once a week or more.

According to current studies, nearly 12% of the population experience migraine headaches. That’s nearly 39 million people who are wondering what causes migraines and what they can do to treat them.

Unfortunately, medications on the market right now aren’t always effective. Why?

Oftentimes, facial pain/tenderness is not caused by a so-called “medical” issue. Rather, the underlying problem is a dental condition called TMJ disorder, or temporomandibular joint disorder.

When a person clenches or grinds their teeth, they can end up causing or exacerbating the disorder, causing an immense amount of pain. In other words, teeth grinding or bite problems causes migraines.   

Teeth Grinding Causes Migraines – What You Need to Know About Teeth Grinding

Someone with bite problems will often grind, clench, and gnash their teeth which causes, or is related to, a plethora of health and dental problems. These include:

  • Facial pain, headaches, migraines
  • Shoulder and neck pain
  • Tooth pain
  • Cracked, chipped, or broken teeth
  • Fractured dental restorations (fillings and crowns)
  • Jaw strain and injury
  • Closely related to sleep apnea.

Teeth grinding happens most often at night, though there is a condition called “awake bruxism.” People with this condition tend to clench and grind their teeth throughout the day in response to stress.

Any type of bruxism can lead to TMJ pain, but “sleep bruxism” is more often to blame. The reason for this is because you’re not aware of it happening. Therefore, you likely won’t stop clenching and grinding until you wake.

How does grinding contribute to migraines?

Your head and neck are made up of muscles, joints, and tendons. In order to grind your teeth, the muscles of your head and neck tighten. Continual tension results in pain.

Your dentition can also play a role. Many people with TMJ disorder have a misaligned bite. Your body will try to compensate, but your muscles and tendons end up in a constant state of tension.

Want Relief from Pain? What Your Dentist in West Kelowna Can Do for You

Thankfully, there are a number of dental treatments available that can improve your bite and create optimal alignment for your muscles, teeth, tendons, and jaw joints.

Many of these treatments can be found at my West Kelowna dentist office. These include:

  • Custom Mouth Guard – Worn at night, a mouth guard protects your jaw joints, muscles, and teeth from bruxism. While it doesn’t necessarily “cure” clenching and grinding, it can sometimes reduce facial pain and headaches.
  • Custom-Fit Orthotic – An orthotic makes permanent changes to your bite to help stabilize the jaw joint and promote proper function. This is a preferable option for patients who have severely damaged jaw joints.
  • Treating Tooth Misalignment – People who have severely worn or broken down dentition can, in essence, have their bite rebuilt. We can do this with crowns or composite filling material. I build the teeth up so that the jaw joints, muscles, and teeth work in a harmonious physiologic position.
  • Orthodontic Treatments – Sometimes, patients need orthodontic treatment to correct the relationship between their teeth and jaw joints. This can be done in addition to building the teeth up and orthotic treatment.

Stop Suffering in Silence – Let Me Help You Treat Your TMJ Disorder

TMJ pain – including migraines and headaches – can be excruciating. This type of pain affects a person’s ability to function successfully in their daily life. Even the simplest of daily tasks can seem impossible when a migraine strikes.

And it can be incredibly frustrating when you try remedy after remedy to treat the issue without success. But just because you haven’t found a pain solution yet doesn’t mean all hope is lost.

If you have been diagnosed with this disorder or think you might have it, I welcome you to visit my office to discuss your options. My goal is to reduce the pain my patients’ experience, which is why I focus so much of my efforts on providing TMJ treatment options to my patients.

I’m confident that, together, we will find the best treatment plan for your unique needs and finally get you out of pain.

Do you experience migraines on a regular basis? It could be from teeth grinding and stress. Contact my office today to schedule a consultation and see how my team can help you find relief.