Head & Neck Pain

Can teeth cause Neck Pain or Headaches?

Your OCCLUSION is how your teeth touch when your jaws close together. In functional usage (chewing, speech and swallowing) our teeth only touch together for between 3-17 minutes a day (24 hours) probably at loads under 100 p.s.i.

Teeth touch under the following circumstances.

During chewing, at the very end of the chewing stroke as they finally penetrate the food bolus, they meet in maximum intercuspation. In swallowing, teeth are brought into maximum intercuspation between 1,500 to 2,000 times each day, at low loading.

If a patient can make occluding contacts in parafunctional movements such as bruxing (grinding or clenching of teeth whilst awake or especially during sleep) it is possible the patient may be loading the teeth (or prosthetic replacements I.e. dentures, crowns, bridges, implants), supporting periodontium and temporomandibular mechanism with loads of up to 1,000 p.s.i. for hours per day.

Bruxism (grinding or clenching teeth) occurs more when a person is “mentally active”, whether due to emotional stress or just simply a hectic lifestyle.

The effects of bruxism are:

  • Headaches
  • Neckaches
  • Painful temporomandibular (“Jaw”) joints that can also seem like an ear ache and facial muscle pain
  • Painful chipped or worn teeth

These symptoms can be treated by:

  • Fixing the occlusion – the way and position in which your teeth meet
  • Construction of a splint to be worn over your teeth. Ask your dentist which of the many different splints available would most suit your needs
  • Decreasing stress in your life
  • Treating painful muscles and joints with physiotherapy or chiropractic methods
  • Seeking advice on stress management