Bite adjustment could relieve headaches, jaw muscle soreness

Headaches can be the start to a miserable morning. Muscle pain in your jaw or neck can make chewing painful. Thankfully, there’s a good chance Dr. Kaake at Miller Hill Dental can relieve that pain by adjusting your bite.

Some people with recurring or constant headaches go to a physician or neurologist. Instead, they may want to check with Dr. Kaake about a bite adjustment to reduce pain and eliminate the chances of small issues, turning into more serious issues like TMD.

TMD, or technically known as temporomandibular joint disorder, means the hinge connecting the upper and lower jaw isn’t working properly. This hinge is responsible for moving the jaw up and down and side to side so a person can talk, chew and yawn. When the bite is off, it can cause headaches, sore jaw and muscle tightness. Dr. Kaake encounters about 20 patients a month with such symptoms.

Some symptoms of TMD include noises of the jaw such as clicking and popping, neck or head pain, severe headaches or migraines, posture difficulties, sleep apnea or excessive snoring, or ringing of the ears.

Dr. Kaake notes that about 5-10% of the general population seeks medical advice for severe headache pain. Two common headache types are migraines and muscle tension type headaches. Migraines are quite debilitating, often starting with an aura 5 to 15 minutes before the pain begins and lasts 4 to 72 hours. Successful treatment for TMD is likely to reduce the number of migraines. Tension type headaches are a constant, steady aching pain. One of the most common sources of this headache is trigger points, painful spots on the muscles. When chewing, muscles contract constantly to protect the teeth from contacting unevenly, and trigger points form. These can lead to headaches.

Causes of TMD can be anything from a missing tooth to misaligned teeth, a bite guard that doesn’t fit correctly to a filling that is too high. Getting a bite adjustment is important, or the condition may worsen and can turn into a pain syndrome.

Though TMD is something our team checks for during every patient checkup, we encourage those who either aren’t current patients or haven’t been in recently but are experiencing headaches or muscle pain, to contact us for a consultation.

According to Dr. Kaake, “Just like your vehicle’s tires need to be aligned every once in a while to travel smoothly and not have uneven wear and tear, your bite needs similar alignment in order to keep your jaw working properly.”

Learn more about bite adjustments here:

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