The Link Between Headaches & Bite Misalignment

Adults aren’t the only ones who get headaches. Kids get headaches, too. There are lots of things that cause headaches – tension, anxiety, illness, etc. Dental issues sometimes result in headaches. One of these issues is bite misalignment.

The way the top and bottom rows of teeth fit together is called your “bite.” (The dental term is “occlusion.”) Each tooth is designed to line up and fit together with its corresponding tooth in the upper or lower arch. Bite misalignment, or malocclusion, occurs when teeth don’t line up properly. Examples of malocclusion include crossbite, underbite, overbite, and openbite. Improper tooth alignment can cause discomfort, including headaches.

The Problem with Misalignment

The entire chewing system – teeth, jaw, muscles, ligaments, nerves, etc. – is designed to work in harmony for comfortable function. Bite misalignment can throw this system out of whack and cause one or more parts of the system to overcompensate.

For example, malocclusion can stress the jaw joints that reside at the base of the jaw in front of the ears. These joints – called the temporomandibular joints, or TMJ – are sensitive to a variety of stimuli and can react by causing pain in the face, head, neck, and even in the hands and low back. Chronic headaches are a common complaint of people who suffer from TMJ-related issues. And bite misalignment can be a cause of this condition.