TMJ & Migraine: Are you clenching your way to a migraine?

By September 26, 2011 January 2nd, 2020 No Comments

What is TMJ?
The term TMJ, or Temporo Mandibular Joint, refers to the hinge joint between your jaw and skull. At one time, the dental industry assumed that disorders of this joint were a cause of people’s head and neck symptoms. However, no study has ever shown a causative connection between the condition of one’s TM joint and their symptoms or lack of symptoms!

When discussing your signs and symptoms with a dentist, you’ll often hear him refer to “the occlusion” as an important component of your condition. In the dental world, the occlusion refers to the scheme in which your upper and lower teeth come together and the relationship of your upper and lower jaw while your teeth are together.

Dentistry assumes there are “ideal” occluding schemes and jaw relationships, and conversely, there are “mal-occlusions”…but here’s the problem… there has yet to be any research to show that your occlusion determines if you are symptomatic. We’ve all seen someone with a perfect bite and beautiful teeth, yet they are miserable, while someone who is in desperate need of an orthodontist can feel fabulous.

So what’s causing my symptoms?

Essentially, in regards to TMJ, one’s symptoms are far less determined by what one has, but by what one does. When someone has their jaw at normal rest, the teeth are not supposed to be touching. Actually, teeth are very rarely supposed to be touching. Occasionally they will glance off each other during chewing, and for an instant during swallowing. Some people, however, have their teeth “in occlusion” more often than not, that is, their teeth are occluding (or touching). Occluding requires a continuing contraction of certain jaw muscles including those which cover the side of your head-the temporalis

Jaw clenching can be so intense that “teeth grinding” becomes impossible. As long as the jaw is moving the temporalis is only mildly contracting. At stronger intensities, the jaw will stop moving as the opposing jaws are squeezed together. If the position of the jaw during the clenching event is not “ideal” (it might be shifted over to one side), then one or both jaw joints can be exposed to considerable strain and irritation

There is one more piece to this “clenching vs. grinding” puzzle. If the back molars are touching, jaw clenching is strongest. If only the front incisors are touching, jaw clenching is much weaker (30% of its maximum).

The purposeless touching of the teeth is called “parafunction”. The intensity, duration, frequency and jaw position during the parafunctional events determines the nature of your symptoms.

So how does parafunction tie in with migraine?

Migraine disease is a disorder of the trigeminal nerve system. The sensory component of the trigeminal nerve collects information from all three of its divisions. Information is categorized, with negative or “noxious” input being acted upon depending on its significance. For example, a taco chip that scrapes the roof of your mouth during chewing is not deemed to be worthy of responding to, while nearly the same act performed by a dentist with a similar feeling tool can elicit a protective response.

The decision of whether or not to respond to noxious input is called “modulation”. “Dysmodulation” occurs when an otherwise normal input is inappropriately acted upon. A migraine pain event results from “trigeminal sensory dysmodulation”, when normal sensations from certain triggers(particular foods, smells, etc.), cause the trigeminal nerve to secrete chemicals that result in the swelling and burning sensation around the brain, or sinuses, or throughout the mouth and jaw, that is, migraine pain….read more

Smile a Clinic for general and cosmetic dentistry london with specialist in dental implants London, cosmetic veneers, smile makeover london, cosmetic dental bridge and cosmetic denture uk. Bite and TMJ treatment London and root canal treatments london are also provided by specialist cosmetic dentist london. Check out our special dental offers London and Dental payment options including dental implant cost London


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