Headaches are one of the most common disorders of the nervous system. Nearly half of the adult population in the world have had at least one headache in the previous year.

There are different types of recurring headache disorders. The most common primary headaches are migraines, tension-type headaches and cluster headaches. Headaches can also happen as the result of other diseases and conditions (secondary headaches), such as overuse of medications.

Headaches can be painful and disabling, being often under treated and under estimated. According to the World Health Organization, only a small part of headache sufferers receives an appropriate diagnosis from health practitioners.

Dental bite problems are probably the most underrated triggers for headaches. It has been estimated that around 90% of primary headaches are at least partly caused by bite problems.

Most headache treatments consist of pain medication, which do not address the underlying cause of the problem. Besides, long-term use of medications can have serious side effects in other organs in the body. When overused, some painkillers can cause secondary headaches.


There are a number of conditions that can cause bite issues, such as missing teeth, crooked teeth, misalignment of the jaws, over-, under- and cross bite, grinding of teeth and uneven fillings, crowns and bridges.

Bite problems lead to overworking and tension on the chewing muscles, which can result in misalignment of the jaw joint. Because the joint is never settled when the bite is out of balance, it never relaxes, causing more stress on the muscles.

When the bite in not even on left and right sides, usually one side is subjected to more pressure and stress, leading to strain and inflammation in that side (sometimes in both sides). There are vessels and nerves that pass through the jaw joint, thus, tension can compress or pinch those structures and cause pain in the area or in adjacent areas, resulting in headaches.

Furthermore, muscle tension also affects the sutures in the skull and the membranes around the brain and the spine, contributing to the development of headache and pain in the head, neck and back.

Teeth grinding and clenching can further worsen the situation by adding extra stress in the chewing muscles.



Traditionally, dentists and physicians tend to look at the mouth and its structures as a separate compartment. However, everything is interconnected in the body; the jaw joint and muscles are directly linked to the head, neck, shoulder and spine through muscles, ligaments, vessels and nerves.

A throughout dental and facial examination needs to be conducted by the dentist in order to identify what is affecting the bite. Treatment is customized to suit each patient’s needs and can include adjustment of uneven restorations, replacement of missing teeth and orthodontic treatment.

Through orthodontic treatment, teeth and jaw misalignments can be fixed. Thus, a more functional and balanced bite can be achieved, which will help relax the chewing muscles and prevent headaches.

A beautiful smile and previous orthodontic treatment does not necessarily equals a balanced bite in the back teeth. In other words, bite issues can be present even in perfect smiles.

Treatment can be easily accomplished through clear aligner therapy, without the need for braces. This is a better and more convenient option for adults, as these discrete plastic devices are removable. After a digital impression of the teeth and arches, the custom trays are 3D printed and used by the patient, providing gentle forces to correct the dentition.

Want to hear more about eliminating headaches through dental and orthodontic treatment? Talk to your orthodontist today.