Headaches and Jaw Pain

Headache Treatment and Relief: Tyler, Texas

headache relief tyler texasDid you know that 80 million  Americans suffer from headaches, migraines, TMD, tinnitus  or Vertigo? Are you one of them? Would you like to get rid of your headaches? We can help!

Did you know that much of the time, this is related to the muscles that control the jaws and head, and that these pains can pretty much only be solved by a dentist, by treating the forces of the bite and allowing  the muscles to become calm and relaxed. The best analogy is like having a rock in your shoe, and if you were just sitting around, that rock probably wouldn’t bother you so much, but if you were walking to the other side of town, you would have pain, and you would begin to compensate in how you walked, and soon you would likely be having knee and hip pain from the compensations you had to make. What we do with the bite is to find the “rocks in your shoe” and eliminate  the muscle compensations that show up as painful headaches and painful joints, among other symptoms.

Recent research has shown that the muscles of the face and head are often hyperactive and in spasm when the patient reports a headache. For instance, if your headache is in your temple area, put your finger on your temple and squeeze your jaws together and you will feel that muscle (called the Temporalis muscle!).

There are nerve fibers in the teeth that go to the central nervous system and cause excess muscle activity of all of the muscles that are innervated by the Trigeminal nerve- and those muscles are in a lot of interesting places- like the inner ear (explains the ringing in the ears and the dizziness that we often see) and the soft palate- (which can cause a sore throat), and the muscles involved with biting and chewing.

When muscles are overworked, they get fatigued and hypersensitive and painful. (Like after a  workout or strenuous exercise). Well, someone who clenches or grinds their teeth, those muscles are getting a workout all day and night long, in many cases. No wonder they get tired and ache.

This is why treatment of muscles is the key to reducing head and neck pain- because the muscles are the source of the pain, not the bones or nerves. When you take a nerve agent or pain killer, you might mask the pain, but you are not going to the source of it. Relying on pain killers is damaging to your body, and isn’t curative at all. It is like breaking your  leg and using crutches for the rest of your life, instead of actually correcting the problem.

Today, we are using very precise digital instrumentation to measure and treat  people’s head, neck and TMD pain, as part of a permanent solution, not simply feeling better today! The TekScan is able to show us exactly which teeth hit, when they hit and how hard they are striking the opposing teeth, something we have never been able to document before. The TekScan reading looks like this:

When we combine the TekScan readings with EMG (electromyographs- electronic reading of the muscle activity), we can actually measure the activity in the muscles we are most concerned about in headache and TMD- the masseter muscles and the temporalis muscles (The masseter is the muscle right outside your molars, and the temporalis is the muscle that runs through your temples and all through the top of your head and down to the back.  If those muscles are in spasm, even your scalp can be tender.

tek scanThe real interest comes when you can combine the information of the TekScan and the EMG, so you can see what the muscles are doing AT THE VERY TIME THE TEETH ARE TOUCHING! And, as we treat the teeth, we can see the muscles calming and not firing- all in real time , for the first time!

Dr. Robert Kerstein, from Boston, was one of the first dentists to explore the connection between the timing of the tooth contacts and the muscle reaction. He has done hundreds of studies, worked on thousands of patients and has published his work many times.  This is a therapy that works, is scientifically valid and proven and IT WILL HELP HEADACHE AND TMJ SUFFERERS.  Most of the time we don’t have to make splints to wear, if we can get the bite just right!

Bottom Line is this: While headaches can be triggered by many things, most are muscular aches, spasms in the muscles of the head and neck and the pains caused by those spasms and fatigue. While  procedures like physical therapy, chiropractic and medications can help, if the bite is the cause, then correcting the bite is the cure. And our success with DTR therapy shows us that this is the cure for many people. After a thorough diagnosis, we can give you the best opinion as to whether this is the cure for your problem.

If your headaches are interfering with your life, call our office, we can help! 903-581-1777

Jaw Pain: Treating Your TMJ in Tyler, TX

TMJ and jaw pain solutions in Tyler, TXHave you ever laughed and smiled so much that you start rubbing your face and proclaiming your “jaws” hurt? That has probably happened to most of us. However, if that pain continues and becomes chronic, it is very uncomfortable and not the result of laughing.

Pain in the jaws and headaches are both often signs of TMD (sometimes called TMJ), which is short for Temporomandibular Dysfunction. This can be a very serious and debilitating problem, with pain when chewing, or noises and pain when opening or closing your mouth, and the threat of headaches.

There are several issues that we have to look at when we see a patient who suffers from TMD. First, we have to look at how the jaws relate to each other to see if there is a discrepancy between where the teeth guide the jaws to close, and where the muscles or joints actually want to close. If the problem is related to jaw position, we have to carefully figure out a better position and then how to make a bite splint that will allow your jaw to rest in that pain-free position.

Second, we have to see whether you are grinding or clenching your teeth during the night. This can be enough to trigger a muscle spasm and jaw fatigue.

Treatment for jaw pain can be as simple as adjusting one or two teeth or it may be as extensive as relaxing the muscles using a TENS or designing a splint to be worn over the teeth at night.

If you are having jaw pain, we need to see you and make a diagnosis so we can find a way to get you comfortable again. You don’t need to suffer any longer! Come see our TMJ treatment dentist today!