The other day I happened to catch a part of an episode of Dr. Oz, and he was speaking very briefly about headaches.  He had an audience volunteer on the stage who told him she suffered from headaches, and he had a simple solution…a pencil between the teeth! He told the participant she should just put a pencil between her teeth and that space will allow the headache to stop. Sound too simple?

Woman biting on a pencil to help a headache go away

Does Dr. Oz Understand Headaches?

Dr. Oz may not actually know why this works (he said it just helps the muscles relax), but he was starting on the track of “Neuromuscular Dentistry,” or the influence of muscles and nerves in dentistry.  It is very common that headache sufferers have short, worn-down teeth. This process starts when the body senses that the teeth don’t fit together perfectly well, and the grinding process is the body’s way of wearing down any area of the teeth that are “too high.” Keep on grinding over a long period of time…and you have short, worn-down teeth.

Now put your teeth together, put your fingers on the sides of your face, and grind your teeth together.  The facial muscles you feel moving around are the masseter muscles (in your cheeks) and your temporalis muscles (on the sides of your eyes). Imagine the muscles working constantly while you grind your teeth…why do you suppose you have a headache?

An Ontario neuromuscular dentist will help find a position of your jaws where these sets of muscles are relaxed and the rest of your body feels comfortable, and “build” your bite at that exact position.  Funny enough, this position is usually with the teeth a little bit apart and the lower jaw slightly forward-just like with the pencil. The way this happens is fairly complicated to explain in this blog, but suffice it to say that in the end, headaches are significantly reduced (if not stopped completely), and your smile will look great also!

If you have dental questions related to TMJ & headaches, you can call Dr. Andrea Stevens at 613.271.7091.