Many Migraine Headaches Caused by Grinding, Clenching Teeth

More than half of adults grind, clench teeth; one in 10 aren’t aware they have TMJ

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (July 2011)- Migraine headaches can put the brakes on anyone’s day. They can mean time away from family, friends and work, not to mention the inconvenience and personal discomfort. One of the major causes of migraine headaches is grinding and clenching teeth during sleep.

“Grinding and clenching can be caused by stress or anxiety, but they are also key characteristics of a Temporomandibular joint disorder, which is more commonly known as TMJ,” said Dr. Stan Farrell of AZ TMJ. “In fact, one in 10 people have a TMJ disorder and don’t even know it because the grinding and clenching happens when they’re asleep.”

While more than half of adults grind or clench their teeth occasionally, there can be significant damage and health complications when the behavior occurs on a regular basis. Chronic grinding and clenching can not only cause migraine headaches and fractured or complete loss of teeth, but can also lead to hearing loss and even issues with the jaws that can change the appearance of a person’s face.

“One interesting fact about grinding and clenching is that it’s not just a problem for adults,” said Dr. Farrell. “Nearly one-third of children suffer from the condition and while most grow out of the problem by the time their permanent teeth develop, for some, the problem can be extremely painful and cause considerable, long-term damage.”

Treatment options can include stress-management techniques, reducing the amount of caffeine and alcohol a person drinks, training oneself not to grind or clench teeth, or wearing a custom-fitted oral orthopedic splint. Many times there are underlying factors that need to be evaluated, so it is always recommended to consult with a board-certified health professional.

For more information about migraine headaches caused by clenching and grinding, visit the AZ TMJ website at or call (480) 945-3629 to schedule an appointment.

 About AZ TMJ

AZ TMJ is a clinic focused on the treatment of TMJ and TMD disorders, sleep apnea and severe migraine headaches. The clinic is led by Stan Farrell, DDS, FAAOP, who received his training in orofacial pain at the University of California, Los Angeles, and graduated from the School of Dental and Oral Surgery at Columbia University. Dr. Farrell is a diplomat with the American Board of Orofacial Pain and a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. For more information about AZ TMJ, visit or call (480) 945-3629.