04/05/2013 (press release: sheiladanzig) // Pontiac, MIE, US // Dr. Jeff Ingber

Muscle tension accounts for 80 percent of all headaches, according to the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, and many of these can be traced back to a person’s bad bite. The good news is that, once diagnosed, this can be successfully treated without the need for long-term medication or painful surgery.

“Tension headaches result when muscles contract or tense for prolonged periods and then begin to ache,” Dr. Jeff Ingber, of Oakland’s Metropolitan Dental Center, explains. “Our first instinct when we get these headaches is to pop a few painkillers, but that only subdues the symptoms—it doesn’t fix the underlying cause. Most people don’t realize that dental problems may likely be at the root of their chronic pain because the pain is not located in their mouths.”

Classic symptoms of headache pain and muscle tension that stem from dental problems include jaw joints that click and pop (temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMJ); pain behind the eyes; tired or sore jaw muscles, particularly upon awakening; areas on the head or scalp that are acutely sensitive to touch; and grinding teeth.

Metro Dental Center uses a patented method to tackle this problem, beginning with diagnostic computerized technology, an iCAT 3D scanner that provides a three-dimensional view of the head and neck, and a K-7, which measures the amount of muscle stimulation in every head, face, and neck muscle.

“Few other dentists here have access to such sophisticated diagnostic machinery,” Dr. Ingber says. Once he determines where the problem lies, he fabricates an acrylic orthotic that fits unnoticeably on the lower teeth. Then, he can reposition the upper and lower jaws, permitting the muscles to relax the way they should, eliminating the headaches that the original tension would otherwise cause. “For patients, the relief can be nothing short of miraculous.”

When this device is worn, not only do the headaches melt away, but the popping or clicking of TMJ sufferers fades as well. The airway opening is also increased, which makes breathing easier, and the jaw’s range of motion is greater. And, because the upper and lower jaws are aligned properly now, isolated toothaches and the occasional chips in teeth, fillings, and crowns disappear.

“We’ve had a number of cases where teeth that were thought to need root canals became pain free,” Dr. Ingber says. “And we’ve had great results with this in patients suffering sleep apnea because the device opens the airway, helping them breathe better.”

It’s not just headache sufferers who benefit from denture orthotics. Metro Dental Center designs their orthotics using electromyography, creating a facelift denture, which provides added support for facial bones and muscles. The teeth feel completely natural and the added facial support actually “lifts” the face to make the wearer look younger.

Up to four percent of the world’s population suffer from headaches 50 percent of the time, according to the World Health Organization, a problem they say that affects “all ages, races, income levels and geographical areas,” and can result in depression, disability (including work loss), and destruction of quality of life.

Headache sufferers should explore whether dental problems are the cause of their pain before undergoing painful, potentially unnecessary surgery or pharmaceutical therapies. A non-invasive diagnostic scan can be arranged by contacting a dental practice with access to state of the art technology, such as Metro Dental Center in Waterford and Pontiac. For more information, visit www.mdcsmile.com or telephone them at 248-674-0418.

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