Craniofacial Pain

Most patients who suffer headaches multiple times throughout the week with default description of their condition as migraine headaches or fibromyalgia that may lead them away from diagnosis’s that may be more accurate and treatable without heavy emphasis on medications alone. Most headaches are either Tension headaches with their origins in the cervical vertebrae or inflammation of the temporal mandibular joint capsules that refer pain to the ear affecting equilibrium and balance as well as the “pull” it has on the cervical vertebra via mandible-hyoid bone-C3. Migraine headaches usually have their initial trigger as a tension headache and therefore control of a tension headache may decrease probability or the effect of the symptoms associated with the classification as a migraine.

Structurally, a patient on first glance may seem normal on imaging and a clinical exam. Most CT or MRIs are searching for damage that is not always present and therefore can mislead initial efforts to diagnosis cause of patient headaches. Most Tension head aches have more subtle clues on imaging for example, loss of spinal lordisis, posteriorly displace condyls of the TMJ, inferior positioned hyoid bone and diminished “daytime” airways may direct clinicians to narrowing the causes of patient headaches.

Treatment at a “dentist” office may not initially make sense when discussing an obvious medical problem of headaches till you look at the problem a little closer. Neck bones, muscles and tendons, for better or worse, have their positions maintained by the closing and holding patterns of teeth and the reverse is also true that pathological changes to spine and facial bones cause adaptation of the closing patterns of teeth to change and then unfortunately hold the patient in that pathological position. That is why physical therapy and chiropractic therapy is only temporary because the brain will default the bite to where all the teeth come together and reshift recently treated structures back to pathological position. Also, more than 50% of the cranial nerves exiting the cranial base are related to dental pain, facial pain, motor function and propreocepion of oral and facial structures. This high volume of nerve tissue can trigger most headaches and therefore should be traced back to those sources for treatment.

Craniofacial treatment is actually a coordination with medical, imaging, physical therapy and chiropractic therapy combined with treatment in the dental office to get a good end result. In the dental office, treatments with orthotics, whether positional or muscle control are combined with use of lasers, ultrasound delivery of medications, strategic injections, and some limited muscle range of motion exercises are typically the procedures rendered to parallel the treatment of partnered medical providers. After patient has improvement of symptoms, phase ii treatment like orthodontics, restorative or long term orthotic treatments can be rendered to preserve new and healthier jaw and spinal bone alignments

Because of the extreme complexity of craniofacial treatment, a simple page on a web site may not be enough to explain it all. If you wish to visit our office for a more detailed explanation, we would love to have you come and tour our facility and examine the equipment and methods used.