What is Causing Your Headaches?
Many patients have a cause of their head pain as a result of the structure of the bones of the head and neck pinching the nerves that cause headaches and migraines. Treating the position of the jaw joint, neck bones and bones of the skull by using dental appliance therapy has a high rate of success in reducing the intensity and duration of headaches.
Depending on the specific needs of the patient, we address headaches and migraines by determining the degree of dysfunction of the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). Those with primary muscular tension issues (clenching and grinding) benefit from our neurological nightguard design that we call the NINJA appliance. It is sleek and efficient at decreasing headaches when designed and used properly. This design is worn only at nighttime and accentuates the contact of the front teeth to stimulate the jaw opening reflex. The result is a reduction in the ability of the clenching muscles to forcefully close the jaw by almost 70%. This appliance is very effective in treating the patient with a primary muscle tension issue, but is not an effective long-term solution for those with a true jaw joint dislocation.
Those with dislocations of their TMJ benefit most from custom dental orthotics worn on their lower teeth during the daytime. These appliances establish a corrected position of the TMJ and reduce the headaches that happen as a result of the jaw joint dislocation. There are many research studies to prove the relationships between temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD) and headaches. Several studies, including university-based studies, show that chronic recurrent headaches are the leading complaint of TMD patients. Of TMD patients treated with custom dental orthotic appliance therapy, 66% were completely headache free with the remaining 33% rating themselves as vastly improved after a course of treatment involving the neuromuscular dental orthotic.
Another study comparing the effectiveness of a flat plane appliances (similar to the traditional nightguard provided by most dental offices) compared to a custom dental orthotic that repositions the mandible forward and worn during the daytime proved that the group with the dental orthotic enjoyed a significant reduction in symptoms, including and especially headaches. Those treated with the flat plane (nightguard) appliance experienced no improvement, and in fact, two of them worsened.
Matching the needs of the patient with the proper appliance selection and design for them is the key to success in headache reduction and treatment of the cause of the symptoms. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment and headaches can result from many different causes.
We look forward to determining if your headache symptoms can be addressed through the many benefits of understanding the structural basis of headaches and migraines.