Let me tell you about a patient of mine named Meg. Meg had been suffering from almost daily headaches since she was a teenager. Many days, she would wake up in the night or the morning, already with a headache. She would get out of bed, take 3 or 4 Advil, and either call in sick to school or work, or wearily get out of bed and get ready to go despite how she felt. Meg continued on this way while raising her family, sometimes not able to help her husband with the kids, cancelling evenings out with friends because she was too ill.
I met Meg about 10 years ago, before she became my patient. Most days that I saw her, she had that pained expression in her eyes that headache sufferers have; but most days she went about her business, did her job, swallowed more Advil. However, in 2005 Meg and I together decided to do something about her headaches…and we started treating her bite.
I know, seems strange that your bite could cause headaches! However, using some very sophisticated computer equipment I determined that Meg’s face and neck muscles were ON FIRE ALL THE TIME! No wonder she was in pain–her teeth never touched the same way twice, and so she was grinding her teeth all day long. I first placed a removable dental appliance in Meg’s mouth, then later one that was bonded into place. And over the next few months, Meg’s headaches started decreasing in severity, frequency, and duration. Eventually, Meg told me she sometimes had whole months with no headaches at all. Amazing!
In 2012, Meg completed her treatment with braces to move her teeth into the same position her dental appliance made her bite. To this day, she says she has one headache every few months, and it is mild enough to be easily managed. To date, we have successfully treated many patients just like Meg, and we are in the midst of treatment with many others now. Once each patient’s dental appliance therapy proves to be successful these patients then move on to a different, more permanent type of treatment to stabilize the bite long-term.
If you have headaches frequently, or love someone who does, we would love to help. Getting your life back…priceless.
Dr. Andrea Stevens is a cosmetic and family dentist in practice in Kanata, Ontario. If you have dental questions, you can call her at 613-271-7091 or visit her at kanatacosmeticdentist.com Please also feel free to leave comments or questions below, and Dr. Stevens will be happy to answer!