Are Migraines Related to Dental Health?

Categories: Oral Health

migraines and dental healthSanta Cruz, Scotts Valley CA

If you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines, you may be surprised to know that the problem could be rooted in your mouth or jaw. Today our Santa Cruz family dentist is taking a look at some of the potential dental culprits that could be behind your migraines. The good news is that our office has solutions for each of the following issues that could be causing your headaches.

TMJ disorder

Right in front of the ears, the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) serve as hinges between the skull and jaw, helping the jaw open and close smoothly. A disorder of these joints, called TMJ disorder, affects the jaw, including its joints, muscles and ligaments. It very often causes pain in the jaw and pain/ringing deep in the ears and can also cause toothaches and headaches.


The unconscious grinding and clenching of teeth, also called Bruxism, often accompanies TMJ. The grinding wears down teeth over time, leading to a misaligned bite, which can also cause tooth damage that leads to migraines. Bruxism also overworks the jaw muscle, leading to chronic headaches.

Sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea — the most common type of sleep apnea — is a dangerous sleeping condition that is characterized by frequent pauses in breathing during the night and oftentimes by loud snoring. This happens when throat tissue relaxes or collapses and obstructs a person’s airway while sleeping. This causes sleep apnea sufferers to be unconsciously startled out of sleep multiple times a night — up to 100 times in severe cases — disrupting the restorative stages of sleep and often causing tension-type headaches or migraines.

Tooth decay or infection

When a tooth decays or has an infection, the damage can eat through the tooth’s enamel over time, eventually reaching the tooth’s pulp and the cranial trigeminal nerve. This nerve branches out to various places in the face and head, carrying pain along the nerve. Any toothache or tooth pain caused by decay or infection can travel along the trigeminal nerve and become a debilitating headache.


Our Scotts Valley dentist office specializes in diagnosing and treating the dental issues causing chronic headaches or migraines. TMJ, Bruxism and sleep apnea can usually successfully be addressed by the use of oral appliance therapy, which we offer at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry. The process is simple: Our dentist will use digital images of your teeth and mouth to create a custom oral appliance — similar to a comfortable, clear plastic mouthguard — for patients to wear at night. The appliance positions the jaw in exactly the right location to prevent sleep apnea and keep patients from grinding their teeth at night.

If tooth decay or infections are the cause of headaches or migraines, our Los Gatos dentist — usually in as little as one appointment — can clean out the decay or infection and get to the bottom of it with a filling or, if necessary, a root canal.


If you’re suffering from chronic headaches or migraines and you believe a dental issue could be at the root of it, put down the bottle of pain reliever and pick up the phone to call our Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry office at (831) 824-5111 to reserve your appointment today.