Headache and Dental Appliances, Dentist Charlotte

Dental Appliances will not eliminate primary headaches. Primary headaches include:

Dental appliances can treat secomdary headaches caused by Occluso-Muscular Disorder.

There is a theory that dental appliances that decrease activity of the jaw muscles may decrease the frequency of migraine headaches. Whether this is true or not, dental appliances will not eliminate migraine headache.

The following article is from www.headache-help.org. It is good information for headache sufferers.


                                      Dental Appliances and Headache

                           (Reprinted with permission from the American Council for
                                Headache Education (ACHE) by Alan Stiles, DMD)

      Everyone who suffers from headaches desires improvement, whether this means taking
     less medication, experiencing fewer side effects, obtaining pain relief more rapidly, or
     making fewer visits to the doctor. Most patients with headaches continue to keep their
     eyes and ears open for new and better therapies that could be the answer to their long-
     lasting battle against the next headache attack.

     Unfortunately for headache sufferers, many gimmicks exist that prey upon their hopes for
     better treatment. Dental appliances that claim efficacy in treating all sorts of head, neck
     or facial pain have been around for years. The headache sufferer needs to be armed with
     enough knowledge to make an informed decision about whether these appliances are
     gimmicks or legitimate treatment options.

     Within the past few years, a group of dental appliances has been marketed for headache
     sufferers. With countless appliances in existance, singling out one or two would be unfair.
     These  appliances are generally known as an anterior deprogrammer, an anterior tooth
     separating appliance, an anterior bite plate, a muscle deprogramming device, and a
     removable anterior jig appliance. They are designed to fit on the upper front teeth and
     mechanically prohibit the upper and lower back teeth from contacting. This type of
     appliance was first introduced in the mid 1900s as the Lucia jig. It has since been modified
     numerous times and remarketed in a variety of ways. It was first used in reconstructive
     dentistry to help establish a bite position to which restorative work could be done, and it is
     used for this same purpose today. This appliance has gained recognition in treating pain
     through clever marketing campaigns that exaggerate their efficacy not through rigorous
     scientific testing.

     Manufacturers market these appliances to both patients and doctors. Attractively designed
     websites lure patients with enticing claims of effectiveness. The manufacturers claim that
     their appliances help patients who "have head, neck or facial pain, have been diagnosed with
     migraine, tension-type or cluster headache, have sore or tight jaws in the morning, have to take
     medications repeatedly for their headaches, have been under treatment by their doctor without
     long term relief, have sinus-or allergy-related headaches, have eye strain and have had their
     eyes checked". If the appliances worked for all those ailments, then almost everyone reading
     this article would be a candidate for this treatment.

     The makers of the dental appliances also target the doctors who could recommend the appliances
     to their patients. They promote the products as "practice builders", in other words as a way to
     increase revenues for their practice. The manufacturers may supply instructional videos, CD
     ROMs, forms that can be filled out and placed in the patients' charts, training for staff, and free
     billing information. Some even supply incentive plans wherein the physician is rewarded with
     discounts or money back for the number of appliances delivered or for the number of completed
     forms faxed back to the company.

     Based on limited evidence that oral appliances can be effective for reducing the incidence of
     migraine headaches, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the marketing of
     some of these appliances for diagnosing and even treating headaches. Warning! The approval
     process for medical devices (which included dental appliances) is entirely different from that
     required for medications. Before approving a medication, the FDA requires multiple trials in
     animals and in humans. With medical devices, however, the approval process is much less
     stringent, and new devices that are similar to previously approved devices can apply for the
     same FDA approval. Most of the appliances being marketed for headaches are categorized
     as "jaw repositioning devices", and a wide variety of appliances carry this FDA approval.

     Although the mechanisms of migraine are not fully understood, it is believed that migraine is 
     an inherited disorder of the brain that produces a sensitive central nervous system that some-
     times becomes over-reactive and results in a migraine attack. An area of the brainstem known
     as "the migraine generator" has been identified as being crucial in initiating a migraine attack.
     This area is a relay station for information passing to and from the face and head and the brain.
     It is believed that too much activity passing through this area may trigger a migraine attack.

     One of the goals of a migraine preventive agent or therapy is to reduce the activity in this area
     of the brain. Muscular activity of the head (including the muscles of the jaw) may increase the
     activity through this area. Dental appliances reduce muscular activity and, therefore, may reduce
     some of the activity through the generator. Muscular activity is only one of many signals that are
     carried through this area, and although decreasing excessive muscular activity may have a
     positive effect on headache frequency, it is certainly not a cure.

     The claim that any device (or medication) is a headache cure-all should be taken with a grain of
     salt. When properly used, dental appliances can be part of an integrated headache management
     approach. The reasons for use, the realistic expectations, and the potential risks of any appliance
     should be discussed thoroughly with your headache doctors.

2009 Paul Plascyk, DDS • Site designed and maintained by TNT Dental