Why might you get headaches?
For the bite to be part of the problem it is first necessary that you are grinding or clenching your teeth. This can be related to stress. There is also a group of people that seem to grind their teeth as part of their normal sleep pattern. Most grinding and clenching happens at night when we don’t know about it (unless someone else tells you!), although it is possible to do it during the day (at work, driving etc.)
What causes the pain?
Using the muscles around your mouth can cause them to become tired and uncomfortable. However a greater problem occurs when muscles are working that shouldn’t be! Your top teeth should close together in a snug relationship with your bottom teeth and they will feel like they do. The problem is that the muscles that close your mouth work in a straight up way. There is quite a good chance that your teeth will not meet in the snug relationship when your muscles close in their best position. What usually happens is that one tooth will hit another tooth and your jaw has to slide a little to get you in to the snug relationship (so your jaw is actually slightly crooked).
Small muscles overworking
Small muscles which move your jaw forwards or sideways have to work hard to move your jaw in to the best fit position. If you are clenching or grinding they have to be working all the time. They soon become fatigued and painful and it is this that causes pain elsewhere. In addition it has been shown that this causes the muscles to work even more, so the problem is compounded. You will not necessarily be able to feel this slide as your muscles will automatically take you to the ‘snug’ position.
What Can Be Done?
The simplest thing to do is provide you with a small plastic device that fits over your front teeth to wear at night. This will reduce the tension in your muscles and allow your muscles to work correctly as the teeth cannot meet in the ‘crooked’ position. Obviously this is only any good if it is a night time problem. Click for details about the Sleep Clench Inhibitor.
This can be changed to a more permanent appliance which covers the tops of all your bottom or top teeth to provide a smooth platform for your opposite teeth to slide around on.
Sometimes it is possible to make small adjustments to your teeth so that your teeth meet in the ‘snug’ position and do not need to slide a little bit in order to obtain it. This is called ‘Occlusal Equilibration’
Jaw muscles are often used to help other muscles work. You may find that in order to do certain things that your jaws are closed together (eg. writing, kicking). It is actually quite difficult to do whatever it is with your mouth open. You will not even realise you are doing it!
Treating Your Whole Body
This can have just the same effect as grinding and cause muscle pain and tension. This applies to muscles all over your body and can be a major contributor to things such as back pain and injury. If you suffer with pain or persistent injury then I would recommend Muscle Activation Therapy which will endeavour to get the muscles that should be doing a job doing it and breaking the cycle of using ones that shouldn’t be working. I am sure you can see that if a small muscle is helping a large muscle do its job it won’t be too long before it hurts or gets injured. I was quite surprised at how poorly some of my muscles were working until I tried this treatment.
If you are interested in finding out more contact Simon Anderson at www.activatetransformperform.com for a free consultation.
I will be happy to discuss any of these issues with you and suggest how to move forward. So if you are suffering regular headaches Brighton dentist, Dickon Adams, will be pleased to see you to assess whether this might be to do with your bite.
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