Dr. Wall discusses Cosmetic Dentistry of New Mexico's ability to diagnose head and neck pain, including TMJ disorders.
One of our favorite things to address is what we call head and neck pain, whether that's TMJ dysfunction. Some bite disorder that's giving people headaches. Most headaches actually start with the muscles that work your jaw. We can solve . . . we have a very high rate of success solving people's headaches, especially migraine headaches.
We may have people with clicking or popping in their ears, pressure; their ears feel stuffy all the time. Ringing in the ears, vertigo. What we can do is help people with those problems by changing their bite. Boy, you talk about a life-changing procedure, a life-changing help to them.
I've had people who deal with daily headaches, or scuba divers who can't clear their ears anymore and simply can't dive, or have trouble flying. It's a hugely gratifying part of things. Sometimes the two work together. Sometimes the reason we do the veneers, or if someone is interested in that treatment plan, is that their bite was so bad, they beat their teeth up.
A lot of times one leads to the other. We end up correcting some things that people just had no idea their bite could be a part of. So many people who have just a little discrepancy in the bite, whether it's been longstanding or as they've worn their teeth down, also end up with sleep breathing disorders, so sleep apnea. There's a high correlation between sleep apnea and people who have TMJ problems. We love to help solve that; we love to help them get to sleep better.
If people wake themselves up because they're grinding or clenching at night, they feel tight in their muscles, they're not maybe having full-blown headaches, but they can tell they're tense. They're beating up their teeth, because they're grinding them. Essentially when that's happening, the body is trying to reposition the bite by grinding. Your muscles aren't happy; the unhappy muscles lead to all the other things. What we try to do is get their bite back into position where everything else is comfortable. Again, we see better posture, better health, better sleep, better sports, better school, when we help somebody with it.
It's amazing how much we don't know. It's amazing how we look for . . . if someone's having headaches; we look for tumors, or this or that. We want to rule any bad things out. So many times it's bite, especially with headaches.