About Headaches

First, four quick facts:

Muscle spasm pain due to occlusal interference (an unstable bite) is among the most common causes of head, neck and facial pain.

Pain symptoms from occlusal interference are frequently confused with tension headaches, migraine headaches, whiplash injuries and general head, neck and facial pain.

According to a study published in the Academy and General Dentistry Journal, 100% of 100 consecutively examined new patients were found to have one or more manifestations of biomechanical dental disease.

Nearly as many people damage their teeth as a result of biomechanical dental disease as do from bacterial induced dental disease.

If you think this could apply to you, you are not alone. This applies to more than half of the 80 million Americans who suffer from everything from mild and annoying tension-type headaches to severe and debilitating migraines.

Medical experts say one of the most common causes of head, neck and facial pain is a long-term conflict between the biting surfaces of the teeth and the jaw joints, commonly known as TMJ dysfunction or occlusal interference. The problem is caused by a slight misalignment of the teeth that causes the jaw joint to be pulled out of the socket during biting and swallowing. This can cause painful muscle fatigue and spasms leading to headaches, neck pain and general facial pain.

Now, a veteran dental practitioner has come up with a possible solution. Dr. Jerry Simon, D.D.S., spent many years researching occlusal interference, what many consider the most fundamental but overlooked issue in dentistry today. As a result, he developed a small plastic device, the Best-Bite™ Discluder, that both assists dentists in determining whether a patient’s pain is bite-related as well as provides short-term pain relief during the treatment process.

“Many headaches cannot be diagnosed by standard medical tests such as MRIs, CAT scans and blood tests, so the diagnosis is often made on the symptoms reported by the patient, leading to an incorrect diagnosis, and therefore incorrect treatment, by the doctors,” explains Dr. Simon.

Patients bite down on the Discluder. It instantly assists the jaw joints in stabilizing so the muscles no longer strain, the spasm is released and the pain stops, generally in under two minutes. This helps the dentist determine if occlusal interference is the root of the patient’s problem and devise a successful drug- free treatment plan. The time savings benefits both dentist and patient.

Symptoms of jaw misalignment include:

Any head, neck, or facial pain

Popping, clicking, ringing or grinding sounds in your jaw or ears.

A sore jaw in the morning or during chewing.

Pain from a whiplash injury that fails to go away

Once the problem has been diagnosed, the pain can often be stopped very quickly if the interference’s are eliminated. If the meshing of the teeth is at fault, careful grinding down of the offending area may achieve the required result For instance the cusps and grooves on the upper back teeth should fit snugly into the corresponding depressions and peaks on the biting surfaces of the back teeth in the lower jaw.

If this snug fit does not exist, the dentist may attempt to reshape these cusps to correct the bite.

To do this, the dentist may first take impressions of the upper and lower jaws and make models of the teeth. These models are then mounted in a mechanical device, called an articulator that simulates the movement of the patients jaw. By studying the models in this way the dentist is able to determine where and how much reshaping should take place.

For many patients, it is necessary for the dentist to make a small plastic appliance, called an occlussal splint, which fits over the biting surfaces of the upper teeth. The appliance is usually worn at night. The occlusal splint has the effect of separating biting surfaces of the upper and lower jaw, thereby allowing the chewing muscles to relax. Once these relax the pain usually disappears. By eliminating night grinding in bruxers, the occlusal splint also helps maintain the integrity of the teeth.