stages of migraine headaches

stages of migraine headachesMiami and Coral Gables, FL

If you suffer from migraine headaches, then you know just how debilitating they can be. It is estimated that nearly 38 million Americans suffer from migraines, and many of these people are only masking their pain with medication. Unfortunately, many primary care physicians misdiagnose these chronic headaches as something else, which is why the frequency of the pain reoccurs. If this sounds like you, the problem could be something more severe such as temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD.

Here are the four stages of migraine headaches and how you can stop the pain. If you experience any of these symptoms or have unrelenting migraines with no relief, contact your Miami dentist today for a TMD consultation.

The four steps are prodrome, aura, headache, and postdrome. For many sufferers, their migraine symptoms begin a couple of days before they realize a migraine is starting. Since migraines are often linked to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), you can seek treatment by wearing a custom-made oral appliance to relieve tension in the jaw joint. The oral appliance helps to position the lower jaw into proper alignment. In turn, this relieves stress on the jaw joints, and surrounding muscles and nerves, which are to blame for causing headaches of migraine-like intensity.

  • Prodrome – During this phase, you may exhibit symptoms associated with an upcoming migraine, but not feel any headache pain for a couple of days. Symptoms include irritability, depression, constipation, neck stiffness, food cravings, and uncontrollable yawning.
  • Aura – This phase may occur one to two hours before or during a migraine. It is the aura phase in which sufferers experience vision loss and sensitivity to light. Sometimes, bright shapes, spots, or flashing lights can be seen.
  • Headache – This phase can last up to 72 hours, if not treated in a timely and effective manner. Pain may be specific to one side of the head, or both. Sufferers will often experience vomiting, blurred vision, light and smell sensitivity, and light-headedness during this phase.
  • Postdrome – This phase signals the end of migraine suffering. However, it is during this phase that migraine sufferers feel drained or worn out.

Migraine pain can interfere with your life and become debilitating to some sufferers. For some, their frequent pain can even affect their family and social life, as well as their work. Understand that there is a relief for your pain. Oral appliance therapy has been proven to relieve migraine headaches that were associated with TMD.

By using state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment paired with our experience with treating complicated TMD cases, we can find the perfect balance for your bite, which will relieve your headaches and any other symptoms associated with your TMJ disorder.

If you or someone you know suffers from migraines, consider a consultation with Miami Designer Smiles. Contact our office today at (305) 595-4616 to schedule an appointment.

Miami Designer Smiles is here to serve patients in the areas of Miami and Coral Gables, Florida.

long term tmj treatment

long term tmj treatmentMiami and Coral Gables, FL

Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ for short, is one of the most complex problems for any patient to face. Diagnosing and treating the disorder falls under the classification of a specialization of the dental field, known as neuromuscular dentistry. At Miami Designer Smiles, we employ state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment that aids us in the treatment of TMJ.

TMJ occurs when the temporomandibular joint enters a state of dysfunction, most commonly due to a problem with the alignment of your bite or jaw. Once the bite becomes negatively altered, only a neuromuscular dentist can bring it back into alignment. Neuromuscular dentists are becoming more and more in favor of oral appliances as a long-term treatment option for TMJ.

An oral appliance uses the principles of neuromuscular dentistry to position your jaw in a more comfortable and favorable resting position. Wearing this appliance, over time, allows the muscles of your jaw to rest and alleviates the amount of stress on your jaw joints. Many patients feel immediate relief upon the first instances of wearing their oral appliance.

In general, the oral appliance is to be worn at night, but some patients may seek relief by wearing it during the day, also. 

The custom-made oral appliances from Miami Designer Smiles are adjustable to suite your changing needs for TMJ treatment. The current school of thought recommends wearing an oral appliance for a certain amount of time as a diagnostic tool to determine the ideal position of your bite. This diagnostic period could last a few weeks or several months. During this time, a neuromuscular dentist should take objective measurements of your TMJ—particularly jaw position, muscle tension, and any jaw sounds.

The dentist should also determine if you are suffering from any of the symptoms of TMJ such as jaw pain, neck pain or headaches of migraine-like intensity. The frequency and intensity of these symptoms will be considered when treating your specific case of TMJ.

If this diagnostic period reveals no profound issues, then we are likely to suggest a patient continues to use the oral appliance. Periodically, you will visit the dentists at Miami Designer Smiles to have your oral appliance evaluated for its effectiveness.

Any changes in your TMJ symptoms should be discussed with your dentist as soon as possible to maximize treatment benefits.

An oral appliance might not be the right TMJ treatment for everyone, but one thing is certain; if you suffer from TMJ, this disorder and the problems it causes will not just go away on its own. In fact, my sufferers find that their untreated TMJ eventually manifest into more severe, long-term pain or discomfort. Proper diagnosis and treatment of this disorder are necessary to provide you with relief.

Miami Designer Smiles has the experience and training in neuromuscular dentistry to provide care for TMJ patients. This is a higher level of care than you will receive for TMJ from a general dentist. If you have been diagnosed with TMJ by another medical professional, call our office at (305) 595-4616 to schedule a consultation today.

Miami Designer Smiles serves patients in Miami and Coral Gables, Florida.

tips for sleeping better

tips for sleeping betterMiami and Coral Gables, FL

Sleep is a necessary part of life as it allows our minds and bodies to rest and rejuvenate. If only there were more hours in the day, maybe we would not feel the need to sacrifice sleep to accomplish everything on our to-do lists. How much sleep are you getting each night? Wish you could get more? Here are some tips for a healthier nights’ sleep.

Power hours

Studies have shown that children need at least 9 to 12 hours, teenagers 8 to 10 hours, and adults 7 to 9 hours of restorative sleep each night. Be sure that you are not skimping on those hours, although too much sleep may actually not be a good thing either.

Put electronic devices aside

We know, lying in bed before drifting off to sleep seems like a good time to use your phone or tablet for browsing the Internet, but resist the urge by keeping electronic devices out of the bedroom. The blue light emitted from electronic devices can actually disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm, which is what is responsible for allowing your body to drift off into a deep state of sleep.

Side sleeping

Believe it or not, but sleeping on your side may actually help the brain clear waste better than sleeping on your back or stomach. If sleeping on your side does not feel comfortable to your back, consider placing a pillow between your knees to relieve the pressure off your low back.

Breathe deep

When you breathe deep, it helps trigger the body’s relaxation response by driving the cerebrospinal fluid flow in the brain, which helps clear the brain and oxygenate it.

Keep it cool

Keep the bedroom temperature on the cool side. Studies have shown that sleeping in cooler temperatures helps the body rest better as opposed to sleeping in hot conditions. You could also just sleep uncovered to allow your body temperature to lower.


Experts agree that regular exercise helps protect the brain against sleep-depravation. Your body will feel more tired when it is time to go to bed, and you will likely sleep better. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily.

Try these tips to help get a more restful sleep. If you or a loved one still suffers from sleep loss or snores while asleep, consider a sleep apnea consultation with the dentists at Miami Designer Smiles.

migraine relief from dentist

migraine relief from dentistMiami and Coral Gables, FL

Migraine sufferers know all too well the pain that these headaches, as well as the disruption to daily life, can cause when a migraine headache occurs.

What causes migraine headaches? They can be triggered by a variety of factors. One of the most overlooked migraine causes is a cranial-dental imbalance.

If the cranial bones and sutures become distorted, then pressure changes lead to migraine pain, as well as other symptoms such as nausea or vomiting. These pressure changes can occur from an arriving weather front or when ascending or descending in an airplane. 

A qualified neuromuscular dentist can diagnose dental cranial distortions by examining four indicators, to palpate the skull, and evaluate whether teeth contact worsens cranial strain. If contact does increase the distortion, then there is a high likelihood that this cranial distortion is causing migraine headaches. 

Crooked teeth or misalignment of the jaw also can cause cranial distortion. This misalignment creates an abnormal amount of tension within the dural membranes in the skull.

Issues with the bite or jaw also can affect the temporomandibular joint and create headaches of migraine-like intensity. This phenomenon occurs because of the proximity of the temporomandibular joint and the trigeminal nerve, which is one of the most active neural pathways in the body.

For patients with cranial distortion who suffer from migraines, the headaches will not go away until the tension within the dural membrane system is removed. 

Typical treatment involves the use of an oral appliance such as an ALF (Advanced Lightwire Functional) appliance, which can correct the strain patterns in the skull by addressing issues such as a lack of arch length, tooth crowding or a misaligned bite or jaw. Not only does oral appliance therapy typically resolve migraine headaches caused by cranial distortion, but these results are achieved through a non-invasive procedure.

At Miami Designer Smiles, our dentists have the neuromuscular expertise to diagnose migraine headaches caused by cranial distortion or alignment issues with the bite and jaw. If you are suffering from migraines and have yet to find relief, call our office at (305) 595-4616 to schedule an appointment.

Miami Designer Smiles is here to serve patients in the areas of Miami and Coral Gables, Florida.

put an end to migraines

put an end to migrainesMiami and Coral Gables, FL

Nothing can disrupt your daily quality of life like chronic pain. For people with regular migraine headaches, not only is the pain debilitating but it usually is not observable or detectable by others. Consequently, sometimes others doubt whether the cause of the pain such as a migraine actually exists.

Despite the advances in medical science, determining what causes a migraine headache can remain out of reach. If you have been suffering from migraines on a regular basis for years but long-lasting relief has been impossible to find, then temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) could be the cause. 

How can TMJ cause migraines or headaches of migraine-like intensity? The temporomandibular joint is located in proximity to the trigeminal nerve. No other neural pathway in the body carries more input to the brain than the trigeminal nerve. When the temporomandibular joint is in dysfunction, it can affect the trigeminal nerve in the form of powerful headaches. The typical migraine remedies just mask the intensity of the headaches, but yet the migraines keep coming back.

If there is a physical cause for your migraine headaches, a neuromuscular dentist is the best trained medical professional to diagnose TMJ and also treat its symptoms and the pain it causes. Correcting TMJ involves resolving any alignment issues of the bite and jaw, which if left untreated can affect the muscles of the head and neck while also causing misalignments of the neck and spine.

If you have been suffering from chronic migraines without any lasting relief, then it is important to determine the cause. Discovering if there is a physical problem creating the headaches allows the possibility to correct the problem and create a pain-free future for the patient.

Why live with the pain of chronic migraines any longer? Miami Designer Smiles has the expertise in neuromuscular dentistry to help. Just call our office at (305) 595-4616 to schedule an appointment.

Miami Designer Smiles is here to serve patients in the areas of Miami and Coral Gables, Florida.