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Headaches and Dental Medicine

Dr. Nick Yiannios is the founder of the teaching institution known as the Center for Neural Occlusion (CNO), and teaches doctors from all over the world novel and objective ways to screen, diagnose and treat patients with bite and TMJ problems.

enter What could headaches possibly have to do with your mouth, or your jaws for that matter?  Well… Please reference the following virtual image of the human skull:

An increasing amount of data suggests that certain types of headaches are related to malocclusion (a bad bite) and Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD or commonly referred to as “TMJ”).   Despite the fact that mainstream scientific evidence does not definitively corroborate this, an experienced clinician that treats these types of cases knows that an apparent connection exists.   I am just that sort of clinician.  For years I have been treating patients with amazingly accurate instrumentation that allows me to track the forces generated between opposing teeth (upper teeth to lower teeth), the timing involved with how long those opposing teeth frictionally “rub” and interact with one another, and the resultant muscular responses from the aforementioned force and timing interactions.  It sounds confusing, but it really isn’t.  Let me explain as succinctly and quickly as possible:

  • Research has repeatedly shown since the early 90’s that when opposing teeth rub too much frictionally together for too long (in time), chewing muscles become hyperactive
  • Hyperactive muscles produce excess lactic acid biochemically on the cellular level
  • Excessive lactic acid is toxic and potentially painful to all mammals, including humans
  • Precise measurements of timing and force and resultant muscular activity levels can be used to balance out the human bite, making the muscular response more efficient, and less likely to generate excessive lactic acid on the cellular level
  • Decrease muscular lactic acid production and one can decrease myalgic/muscular pain
  • Muscles such as the bilateral (right and left) temporalis muscles (located in the temples) are one example of a set of chewing muscles that can hyperfunction when the bite is not right in regards to timing/force/friction and resultant muscular output
  • Through precise and objective digital measurements of the human bite, in a patient who possesses stable and adapted right and left temporomandibular joints (TMJ’s)-confirmed objectively via digital modalities such as 3-D imaging and electromyography (EMG), one can decrease hyperactive chewing muscles such as the temporalis muscles by minuscule alterations of how opposing teeth interact
  • An example of a common headache that can be related to a spatial and temporal (space and timing) malocclusion (bad bite) is a headache in the temple region
  • This could be due to a bad bite, and adjusting the bite precisely and objectively using amazingly accurate digital metrics can eliminate headaches such as these
  • As a matter of fact, orthodontic movements and dental work can throw the bite out enough to cause muscular hyperfunction-THIS IS A CRITICAL POINT THAT WE RESOLVE OFTEN IN OUR DENTAL PRACTICE!
  • FACT:  the bite ribbon that dentists traditionally use to check the bite is 12% accurate relative to force/time and shows the dentist nothing about what is going on with the chewing muscles
  • FACT:  little known digital instrumentation known as the T-Scan® digital bite analysis technology is 95% accurate in regards to force/time
  • REMEMBER:  through force/time measurements, we can readily control and calm the chewing muscles, thereby reducing lactic acid and myalgic symptomatology

Are all headaches related to this sort of bite/occlusal problem? No. There are many potential causes of headache pain, including vascular and hormonal issues to name just a few. However, there are ways to screen patients as to their cases applicability for this sort of treatment after the physicians have ruled out insidious organic causes such as brain tumors and the like. We call this screening protocol Neural Occlusion. Neural Occlusion is used to help us decide if a patient’s headaches are likely to respond favorably to an occlusal (bite) adjustment procedure known as ICAGD (Immediate Complete Antierior Guidance Development) which is used to accomplish DTR (Disclusion Time Reduction) therapy. DTR therapy consistently calms hyperactive chewing muscles through precise and minuscule manipulations of the human bite. Be aware that there are many times patients who find us have been told that there is nothing that can be definitively done for them, other than medications as needed to help reduce their headache pain, and many of these times we resolve their headaches anyway. For more information:

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