Headaches and TMJ pain
I would like to discuss an issue that affects over 10,000,000 Americans: Tension and Migraine headaches.  We in the dental profession haven’t been given enough credit or is there an awareness of what we can do to help those who suffer from chronic facial pain on the side of the face, temporal area above the ears or in the jaw.  I have personally helped  many of our Michigan patients overcome their long term headaches.   I hope this information is helpful and that you can put it to use.
Tempromandibular Disorder (TMD), a condition that causes pain in the jaw joint, the TMJ (tempromandibular joint), and the muscles that control moving the jaw and chewing, affects an estimated 10 million Americans.
 
There are essentially six symptoms caused by Tempro-mandibular Disfunction (TMD):
1) Your headache dentist should notice that your upper and lower teeth fit together differently than they once did.
2) You have pain in your facial muscles or jaw joint when you chew.
3) Your jaw locks when you try to open your mouth, or you have limited side-to-side movement of the lower jaw.
4) The pain radiates from your jaw to you’re temporal area of your face or neck.  This may include a previous diagnosis of migraines from your physician.
5) Your chewing muscles are stiff especially when waking up in the morning.
6) You hear the telltale snapping, clicking or popping when you chew or close your mouth.
  To be sure those symptoms are TMD and not a result of other causes, we will thoroughly examine your mouth and ask you several questions. TMD symptoms closely resemble the symptoms that cause ear and sinus infections, some headaches and facial nerve pain.  Facial pain can increase to the point of becoming a migraine if left untreated.

Options  used in our Shelby Township dental office for the previously mentioned symptoms include bite splint therapy, NTI therapy and/or equilibration.  All of these methods are drug free and therefore treat the causes and not just mask the symptoms.
·        Bite splints are mouthguards that snap onto your top or bottom teeth.  The other side is completely flat which, when properly adjusted allows you to grind without damaging the teeth.  This also can help take the pressure off of the TMJ.
·        A smaller device is called the NTI.  This FDA approved device is small, but very effective and is fitted to allow only the front teeth to contact.  When only the front teeth contact the bodies ability to forceably clench is eliminated.  When jaw clenching is reduced the muscles become relaxed, allowing the jaw joint to seat into its proper position.  Our cosmetic and implant patients usually wear the NTI device during sleep when grinding and clenching can be at its highest level.  Typically the tension headaches and migraines start to significantly reduce once the muscles are relaxed. 
Occasionally we need to fabricate a day time device to accompany the evening device for those patients who have severe migraines.  We do find about 90% success rate over 8 weeks of use even for those who have had significant pain.  These success rates are higher than medications designed to treat migraine headaches.
Once headaches are eliminated, we will typically attempt to create long term solutions for these joint and headache patients by slightly reshaping the biting surfaces of the teeth.  If the teeth are misaligned, misshapen, or if the teeth have moved as a result of missing teeth, previously crowned teeth or orthodontics there will be an attempt to bring them into harmony by Equilibration.
At our Shelby Twp. office located in Macomb County,  we have treated many patients and successfully eliminated their headaches and noisy jaw joints through this process.  If someone you know suffers from migraine or tension headaches have them contact our office for more information.  The address is 15055 22 Mile, Shelby Township, Michigan 48315.  You can also email me at drantolak@thegentledentist.com.

Dr. Antolak treats his dental patients in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere where you are treated like a guest in the home.  His motto is to “relax while we take care of your smile”. He specializes in cosmetic dentistry, implant dentistry and general dentistry using sedation dentistry if necessary for his high fear patients. He has been treating patients for the past 21 years and is located in Shelby Township, Macomb county Michigan.