Migraines

Randall W. Smith, DDS

Cosmetic & General Dentistry & Facial Aesthetics Specialist located in Burlington, MA

About 12% of people in the US — or 39 million men, women, and children — have chronic migraines, or disruptive headaches that cause severe, throbbing pain. At Dental Health Connection: Randall W. Smith, DDS in Burlington, Massachusetts, you can get to the root of your migraine pain and find the treatment solution that works best for you. If you’re ready to put an end to chronic migraines, call Dr. Smith, or book an appointment online today.

Migraines Q & A

What are migraine headaches?

Like cluster headaches and tension headaches, migraines are classified as “primary” headaches, meaning they’re caused by too much activity or some other type of problem with the pain-sensitive structures in your head.

Unlike secondary headaches, the kind triggered by illness, primary headaches aren’t usually linked to an underlying health problem.

Migraine headaches, which are generally more severe than other types of headaches, can last anywhere from a few hours to several days. People who have recurrent migraines often find that they interfere with daily life.

What are the stages of a migraine?

Migraines typically produce a severe and often debilitating pulsing sensation on one side of your head. Although accompanying symptoms can vary, migraines often come with or give rise to nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.

Although you may not experience each phase of a migraine every time you have one, most migraines consist of four distinct stages:

Prodrome

The first stage of a migraine, which usually occurs a day before a migraine strikes, includes subtle body signs and mood changes that indicate an impending attack.

Aura

During the aura phase, you may see flashing lights or other visual disturbances; some people also experience a temporary loss of vision and facial weakness.

Attack

The attack stage, which is the migraine itself, can last up to 72 hours, causing pain on one or both sides of your head, lightheadedness, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light and sound.   

Postdrome

A receding migraine can leave you feeling weak, dizzy, moody, or confused until it disappears completely.  

Are migraines linked to oral health?

Experts believe that chronic migraines are genetic in nature, but that individual headache episodes are prompted by specific outside factors.

Although migraine triggers are highly individual, increased stress, changes in sleep patterns, and fatigue are common factors for many people.

Common oral health problems that have also been associated with chronic migraines include:

TMJ dysfunction

Your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is a kind of sliding hinge that connects each side of your jawbone to your skull. TMJ dysfunction can be quite painful, causing tenderness, difficulty chewing, and frequent sleep disturbances. It can also lead to chronic headache pain, including migraines.

Bruxism

Bruxism, or involuntary grinding and clenching that usually occurs during sleep, can cause tight jaw muscles, cracked or excessively worn teeth, and increased tooth sensitivity. Severe bruxism can also give rise to morning migraines.   

How are migraines treated?

A comprehensive migraine treatment plan may include pain-relief medications that you can take during a migraine attack, or preventive strategies, such as Botox® injection therapy, that aim to reduce the frequency or severity of your headaches.

If you’ve been diagnosed with TMJ dysfunction or bruxism, wearing a custom-fitted night guard designed to stabilize and relax your jaw may be all you need to do to prevent migraine recurrence.

To find the migraine treatment solution that’s right for you, call Dental Health Connection: Randall W. Smith, DDS or schedule an appointment online today.