The American Dental Association has identified stressful situations, insomnia and existing tooth or jaw problems as the culprit in many migraine headaches. Migraines can cause people to clench their teeth in agony, but clenching may be the cause of the pain in the first place. People often clench their jaws and grind their teeth while they're asleep because of a condition called bruxism. Bruxism causes a lot of dental issues; loss of tooth enamel, damage to teeth and dental work, and damage to the joints connecting the lower jaw to the skull. Bruxism also can trigger migraine headaches.
Bruxism shows up in the dentist's chair. Many people deny grinding their teeth if asked, because they do it in their sleep and aren't aware of it. But their teeth show the signs with irregular or premature tooth wear, morning jaw pain and the aforementioned migraine headaches.
The good news for migraine sufferers is that your dentist can work with you to alleviate the problem. A device called an NTI can be custom fitted for your mouth. Worn while sleeping, the guard prevents upper teeth from making contact with lower teeth. This eliminates the pressure on stress points that cause damage and headaches.
Talk to your dentist if you're a frequent headache or migraine victim. She or he can offer relief and get you off the nightly grind.