Managing Migraine Misery with Mouth-Guards: How Wearing a Mouth-Guard at Night Can Stop Headaches

Chronic migraines cause anxiety and depression and leave sufferers in constant fear, worried about when and where the next attack is going to occur. According to a study by Migraine Impact in Australia (MIA), 83 percent of sufferers, from around 3 million people, have lost hope of ever finding relief. Pain medications only serve to treat the symptoms—not the cause.

Moreover, some medications soon cease to be as effective as they once were and can even make headaches worse due to overuse. These "medication-overuse" headaches combine with the symptoms of migraines to leave sufferers in agony. Mouth-guards—not medication, have been shown to reduce migraine headaches in many people.

Nighttime Clenching Causes Headaches

Unlike bruxism, also known as nocturnal grinding, nighttime clenching of the teeth often leaves no evidence behind except for the onset of headaches upon waking. The clenching of teeth at night is linked to stress. When you clench your teeth as you sleep, the trigeminal nerve, which transmits sensations from the facial area to the brain, sends pain signals to your brain.

This not only reduces the quality of your sleep, further putting pressure on your brain, but it also causes tension headaches which then lead to migraines. Tension headaches can be felt as pressure around the sides of the face and forehead, almost like your head is being squeezed. These headaches can then lead to migraines that last hours or even days.

Mouth-Guards Stop Clenching

Wearing a mouth-guard when you go to bed will stop you from clenching your teeth at night. This will allow you to enjoy a good night's sleep and reduce the regularity of migraine attacks. While regular mouth-guards purchased from sports stores can help to reduce nighttime clenching, they are not designed for your specific bite, nor are they particularly durable.

Although a custom mouth-guard created by a dentist is significantly more expensive, they last much longer and are designed to fit over your teeth and your teeth only. Because of this, they are worth the investment. The Nociceptive Trigeminal (NTI) mouth splint, similar to a night guard, is designed specifically to combat nighttime clenching in order to reduce migraines. These are even more effective than mouth guards at reducing migraines.

If your life is being taken over by constant migraine attacks, inform your dentist of your problem. Though you may pay several hundred dollars to have a custom mouth guard made, you could see a significant reduction in your migraine headaches.