Migraines can put a damper on anyone’s day. They can mean time away from work, friends and family—and don’t forget he inconvenience and personal discomfort. One of the major causes of migraines is grinding and clenching during sleep. Whether it is caused by stress or anxiety, teeth grinding and TMD can cause migraines to develop. Let’s take a look at the alignment of your jaw, grinding and how it can lead to migraines.

Jaw Alignment

In regards to a person’s temporomandibular joint (TMJ), 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 rarely are supposed to be touching. Occasionally, teeth will glance off each other during chewing and for an instant during swallowing. However, some people have their teeth in occlusion more often than not, which means their teeth are touching. Occluding requires a continuing contraction of certain jaw muscles including 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 us 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 clenching is not ideal, then one or both jaw joints can be exposed to considerable strain and irritation.

How Does it Lead to Migraines?

A migraine is a disorder of the trigeminal nerve system. The sensory component of the trigeminal nerve collects information from all three of its divisions. With more than half of adults grinding or clenching their teeth occasionally, there can be significant damage and health complications when the behavior occurs on a regular basis.

Grind clenching while you are sleeping produces a large amount of noxious input and the typical jaw clencher wakes most every day with some degree of a headache. In fact, many chronic migraine sufferers don’t mention the daily background headache to their doctors in fear of having them labeled as rebound headaches.

Treatment Options

By visiting your dentist for further diagnosis and treatment planning you can find relief from your migraines and clenching. Treatment options might include stress-management techniques, reducing the amount of caffeine and alcohol a person drinks, or wearing a custom-made oral appliance.

Contact Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia for more information on migraines, and clenching and grinding.