Migraine can be caused by many factors including incorrect bites.
If the muscle tension increases and spasm results, the blood cannot flow and the muscle is deprived of oxygen. In order to keep functioning it has to use an anaerobic cycle (oxygen free chemistry). This produces chemical by-products, one of these being 5-hydroxy-tryptamine, a well known migraine trigger.
Clicking jaw joints occur for the same reasons. Tension in the joint muscles pulls the disc forward resulting in a click on opening or closing. If left untreated the disc ligaments become permanently stretched and, in severe cases, the disc falls so far forwards that locking of the jaw occurs and difficulty in opening occurs.
Treatment commenced in the early stages has an excellent prognosis. If left until later treatment can still be provided – but it is more complex and the outcome is less predictable.
Tooth, gum and bone damage also occurs with bite problems. Fractures of cusps (and teeth) are commonplace. This occurs because the forces are directed along the wrong directions and over stress the teeth. Normal bite forces in the adult male are in the order of two hundred pounds per square inch. Interferences in the bite can increase this by ten to twenty times, causing severe tooth wear or fractures.
These forces can also flex the teeth, causing small enamel fractures at the gum margin. The flexing also causes electrical charge in this area, softening the dentine. If the teeth are then brushed, this soft dentine is easily worn away resulting in the common problem of tooth sensitivity to hot and cold.
Abnormal bites also cause the teeth to be ‘rocked’ in their bone sockets (like fence posts in the wind). This results in bone cratering and loosening of the teeth. If gingivitis or periodontitis (gum inflammation) are present, they are exacerbated by this problem.
Treatment of bite related problems is done in several phases.
- Firstly, the joint is allowed to return to the correct position by using a very accurate bite appliance.
- When the joint is healthy the tooth problem can be tackled.
Every case is different and needs individual analysis, discussion and a personal treatment plan.