The next time you get a headache, you might care to consider this: If you’re like most migraine sufferers, you don’t even know it, and even if you do, you may not be treating it properly to get the fastest relief.
According to M.A.G.N.U.M., the national migraine association dedicated to improving the quality of life of migraine and head pain sufferers, an estimated 60 percent of women and 70 percent of men with migraine have never been diagnosed.
What’s more, even people who know they have the problem may not know the cause. A bad bite is “one factor often overlooked” as a cause of migraine headache pain, reports the International Center for Nutritional Research.
For example, explains Dr. Mark Duncan, clinical director of the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, physicians often ask women if the headaches are related to their hormone cycle. Many say “yes” and then it ends up getting diagnosed as hormone-related migraines when in reality it’s bite-related muscle cramps in the temples.
Fortunately, this dental problem can be corrected. Once you calm and support those muscles so they’re “happy,” Dr. Duncan says, the pain disappears.
If someone is suffering from migraines caused by a bad bite, also called malocclusion, there are ways to find out.
How to tell
One simple thing to look for: If you bite your teeth together and more than the tip of your lower front teeth disappear behind your upper front teeth, you are at risk for your bite being the culprit. In fact, ideally, only about 1 mm of your lower front teeth should be covered, and if it is more, the lower jaw is forced backward compared to the head, and that can cause tremendous muscle strain. Other easy-to-spot problems are wear facets or flat spots from grinding, or if your dentist or hygienist has talked to you about toothbrush abrasion. Obviously, patients taking medication for any form of headache owe it to themselves to have a specially trained dentist evaluate their bite.
What to do
If you have those indicators and migraines, you may want to see a neuromuscular dentist; that is, someone trained to look at all the muscles that support your bite. Proper treatment will almost certainly and quickly lead to an improvement because you’ll be dealing with the source of the pain and not just trying to control the symptoms.
For further facts about migraines and to find a dentist with the advanced training to treat them, visit www.leadingdentists.com. North American Precis Syndicate