Migraine headaches: Can Dentists Prevent Them?

Migraine headaches: Can Dentists Prevent Them?

Nov 29, 2019

Everyone knows that dentists take care of dental problems. Whatever is ailing your mouth, whether teeth, gums, or jawbone, the dentist can handle. It is why parents entrust their kids to dentists in pediatric dentistry at an early age. However, very few people are aware that dentists can treat so much more.

Physicians today are indulging more in overall health, regardless of their specialization. For dentists, it is not a surprise that they can offer dental treatments like TMJ/TMD therapy and still do more. For example, did you know that dentists can still correct sleep disorders? Well, they can. Dentists can also handle migraine headaches and even prevent them from happening.

How Can Dentists Diagnose Migraine Headaches?

While the pain of the migraine is in your head, it could be caused by something different. A dentist will thoroughly examine your mouth and jaw to ascertain the root cause of the migraine. This is the very first step to treating it.

Most migraines occur when there is a problem with the temporomandibular joints (TMJs). This is the joint that connects the upper jaw and the lower jaw. Any anomalies in this area can cause severe migraines that do not go away. The pain in this area affects a lot of the body functions, including chewing, yawning, laughing, and even talking. Luckily, the dentist is just the right medical professional to address such an issue.

What Are Some Ways a Dentist Can Treat Migraines?

1. TMJ/TMD therapy

This therapy helps treat disorders of the TMJ. The problem mostly results from an injury or excessive grinding of the teeth. With injuries, the dentist will conduct x-rays to determine the necessary treatment for the broken or fractured parts of the joints. Otherwise, a mouthguard is the standard dental appliance used in this therapy. The mouthguard is useful in keeping the upper jaw and lower jaw apart to prevent grinding at night. When the teeth grinding is resolved, the pressure and tension on the joint will decrease. This will alleviate the migraine and prevent it from happening again.

2. Toothache treatment

Nothing is uncomfortable, like a toothache. The pain can be so severe that you feel pain in all the teeth. The problem with toothaches is that they activate the nerve endings in the face area. This means that the patient experiences pain in more areas of the face other than the affected tooth. Some patients actually complain of migraines more than toothaches.

When you visit your dentist, he/she will alleviate the pain in your tooth by taking care of the decayed tooth. For some patients, it could involve the use of porcelain inlays & onlays, while others would need dental implants or tooth extractions. Whichever procedure works best for you, it will treat your toothache. The bonus point is that it migraine also goes away with the toothache. Better yet, once the tooth is treated, chances of cavities are reduced. This means that this treatment will work to prevent future migraines.

3. Teeth exercises

During TMJ treatment as well as other dental treatments, the dentist recommends several teeth exercises. The exercises are useful for restoring strength in the teeth after treatment, to ready them for functionality. However, did you know that teeth exercises also help to relieve pain and tension? The art of speaking and chewing can be very therapeutic to the body. If you have a headache caused by some oral condition, moving your teeth up and down relieves the pain. It helps relax the tense facial muscles, which then relieves the pain.

Lifestyle changes

Your dentist, just like any other medical professional, will advocate for healthy lifestyle changes. Some of the medical conditions you have are largely linked to poor lifestyle habits. For a dentist, you can expect directives on changes like:

  • Avoid chewing hard things – this includes fingernails, cans, pens, among other items. Much as teeth are strong, you compromise their longevity by exposing them to hard surfaces. Besides, that kind of energy for chewing on such items will exert unnecessary pressures on your jaw and TMJ. This is how you end up with migraines and other oral conditions.
  • Cut hard foods into small pieces – instead of biting into a whole apple, cut it into pieces for easy chewing. This goes for carrots and such like foods.
  • Avoid intentional teeth grinding – especially for kids.
  • Wearing mouth protectors – people in sports, mouth protectors are great to reduce the impact of injuries on teeth.

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