Almost every adult in the United States has cavities — nine out of 10 to be exact. By the time people hit age 65, a huge chunk of the age population — 96% — is being diagnosed with having tooth decay of varying severity.
It’s not uncommon for a Reston dentist to encounter questions from their patients about their toothaches causing pains in other nearby parts of the body, like the head and the ears. In this article, we’re probing the link between these health conditions.
Migraine Caused by Toothache
Migraine refers to the throbbing headache often associated with nausea and sensitivity to light (or sound). It is also often accompanied by vomiting. This can sometimes be traced to a dental problem left untreated (e.g. Toothache, impacted wisdom teeth).
Experts in the field (including Reston dentist) argue that the link between these two pains lie in the so-called trigeminal nerve (or the never that lets the majority of your face have a sensation, including your teeth, gums, and lips). If a dental condition irritates this nerve, it can trigger a migraine.
There are also instances when toothaches don’t “trigger” but “refer” pain to the head. This happens when you feel a painful sensation in one part of your body separate from the very part the causes the pain. For instance, when you have bruxism (the medical term for excessive teeth grinding), you may feel referred pain to your head or to the back of your eyes.
Ear Pain Caused by Toothache
There are different causes of ear pain: ear wax, air pressure, sinus infection, and — yes — even toothache. Similar to the “referred pain” mentioned above, the pain you feel in your ear can be redirected from your tooth through the nerves located in your face and neck. There are also studies (though still inefficient) mapping out how poor oral hygiene can cause ear infections, which can subsequently induce pain in your ears.
Toothache: Causes and Symptoms
Knowing how a toothache can extend well beyond your mouth, it is but helpful to know what actually causes it and what are the symptoms that characterize it. This section aims to comprehensively discuss this topic.
When it comes to causes, a Reston dentist can enumerate several culprits, which may include but not limited to:
Presence of dental cavities
Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages
Teeth grinding or clenching
Impacted wisdom teeth
Gum diseases like gingivitis
Damaged or broken crowns or fillings
It is best to consult your dentist when you suspect yourself of having a severe toothache, which is typically characterized by the following symptoms:
Bleeding or discharge around a tooth (or gums)
Swelling around a tooth (or in the jaw area)
Pain when you chew or talk
Apart from doing regular visits to the dentist, it is important to observe proper dental hygiene. Brush and floss regularly, and do periodic dental cleaning (doctors recommend at least twice a year). You also have to ensure you have healthy eating and drinking habits (avoid too much sweets and consuming carbonated drinks).
At SmileZone, Dr.MahathiNanduri DDS and your favorite Reston dentist can ensure that you’ve healthy teeth and gums for that perfect smile. Contact us today!