Barry C. Cooper, D.D.S.; Israel Kleinberg, Ph.D., D.D.S., D.Sc.The Journal of Craniomandibular Practice, April 2009, Vol. 27, No.2, pgs. 101-108
Relationship of Temporomandibular Disorders to Muscle Tension-type Headaches and a Neuromuscular Orthosis Approach to Treatment
A prominent etiological theory proposed for TMD related headache is that it results from a dysfunctional masticatory muscle system, wherein muscle hyperactivity is frequently caused by dental temporomandibular disharmony. The central goal of this article was to determine from a literature review of the subject whether there is significant evidence to support a relationship between headaches and TMD prevalence.
A second purpose was to determine from such a review whether any relationship was one of cause and effect and whether treatment of the TMD condition can result in meaningful reduction or resolution of headaches. In the literature, there was a substantial amount of evidence for a positive relationship between TMD and the prevalence of headaches, and most importantly, that these were the muscle tension-type. Evidence for a cause and effect relationship was strong. It generally showed in numerous patients that TMD treatment of a large number of patients resulted in significant improvement in the physiological state of the masticatory system (muscles, joints and dental occlusion).
Reduction or resolution of muscle tension-type headaches that were present was clinically significant. The authors concluded that TMD should be considered and explored as a possible causative factor when attempts are made to determine and resolve the cause of headaches in patients with this affliction. A benefit of resolving headaches at an early stage in their development is that it might result in the reduction of its potential for progression to a chronic and possibly migraine headache condition.