Most headaches have multiple causes. Those causes include hormonal changes, nutrient changes, structural abnormalities, auto-immune disorders, injury, postural problems, etc.
The position of your teeth is controlled by a combination of muscles including the temporalis and masseter muscles. These muscles are responsible for bringing your teeth together while eating. They are also are responsible for bringing your teeth together forcefully while sleeping. This forceful closure is often referred to as clenching, grinding, or bruxism.
During the course of sleep studies, it has been discovered that most people bring their teeth together with force while sleeping. This act generally occurs in conjunction with a disturbance in sleep. These disturbances could include apnea (inability to breathe), acid reflux, restless limb disorders. Stress also causes disturbances in sleep. With each micro arousal the teeth are brought forcefully together.
In many individuals who suffer from headaches, during sleep studies, it is discovered that they bring their teeth together more forcefully than others and more times during the night. This prolonged and frequent clenching leads to the build up of lactic acid causing sore muscles. These sore muscles then are protected by other muscles compensating making those muscles sore. This process combined with other factors leads to a cascade resulting in a migraine, tension, or cluster headache.
By limiting clenching intensity the cascade can be prevented and the associated headaches. The FDA has approved a dental device called an NTI-TSS. The device is custom made by a dentist. The device worn while sleeping over your teeth limits the intentisty of clenching. IN studies, as many as 80% of people had 70% fewer headahces. Compared to other migraine prevention therapies and therapeutics, it is the most effective FDA approved method of migraine prevention.
Jonathan Campbell, DDS at Legacy Dental, is a dentist in Salt Lake City. He has been providing NTI devices for almost 10 years.