The Connection Between Toothaches and Headaches: A Quick Guide

The Connection Between Toothaches and Headaches: A Quick Guide

Can toothache cause a headache? Experts believe that toothaches and headaches might be connected. Due to the stimulation of a common nerve, tooth pain can cause headaches. Both signs can result from muscle tension brought on by teeth grinding

This article discusses the connection between toothaches and headaches. We will also discuss what you should know if you experience both symptoms simultaneously. But first, let’s understand the common reasons behind toothache.

What Causes Toothache?

As the name suggests, a toothache occurs in or near a tooth. Gum irritation causes minor toothaches. You can treat it at home and avoid it by maintaining oral health. Dental and oral issues cause more severe toothaches. In such cases, you must visit your dentist as soon as possible. Some of the common reasons for unbearable toothaches are:

  • Tooth decay
  • Infected tooth (a bacterial infection inside the center of the tooth)
  • Tooth breakage (broken tooth)
  • A damaged filling
  • Repetitive actions like grinding your teeth, chewing gum, or clenching
  • Infected gums
  • Eruption (teeth coming out of the gums)
  • Tooth extraction

Can Toothache Cause Headache?

Tooth decay or advanced periodontitis can also cause headaches, similar to migraines. In simple terms, it means that you start feeling pain in a different part of your body other than the painful part. It is due to the numerous nerve connections that connect the teeth and other facial structures to the brain.

Many patients seek emergency dental care for migraines when they have a dental problem. One such example is Bruxism, which causes referred pain in the head. Bruxism is a sleep disorder in which people grind and clench their teeth. The headache caused by Bruxism is described as a dull pain wrapping around the head or occurring behind the eyes. Therefore, taking care of your oral health and visiting your dentist for routine checkups is always advised.

In rare cases, an untreated dental problem can progress to a life-threatening infection known as cavernous sinus thrombosis. It causes severe headaches, usually behind the eye or on the forehead. Other symptoms of cavernous sinus thrombosis include eyelid swelling, protrusion of the eyeball, high fever, and weakness of eye movement.

According to experts, the way toothaches cause migraines is closely related to the trigeminal nerve. The nerve brings sensations to your face, including your lower and upper lip, gums, and teeth. Given that medical experts believe the trigeminal nerve is vital in migraine pathogenesis. An underlying tooth infection could affect the supplying trigeminal nerve branch and, as a result, cause a migraine.

What Causes Headaches And Toothaches Simultaneously?

Some conditions can cause a headache and a toothache but are unrelated to a dental or headache disorder. Some examples are:

TMJ Disorder

A temporomandibular joint disorder, which refers to a problem with the jaw joint in front of the ear and the muscles surrounding it, is a condition that dentists frequently see because it causes toothaches. TMJ disorders can also result in headaches, which are typically described as an aching pain that starts near the ear and moves to the jaw, neck, or temple. Jaw motions, such as opening and closing the mouth or chewing, cause these headaches.

Sinus Infection

A sinus infection can cause pain in one or more teeth, particularly the upper teeth below the maxillary sinus (behind your cheekbones). A sinus headache is another common sinus infection symptom that worsens when you bend forward.

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is a pain disorder caused by compression or damage to the trigeminal nerve. This disorder causes excruciating, stabbing, or shock-like facial pain that almost always affects only one side of the face. 

One can feel the pain along the upper or lower jaw. People often visit their dentist before seeing their healthcare provider if they have an abscessed tooth. It’s not uncommon for someone to have one or more unnecessary root canals or tooth extractions before being diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia.

What Are Your Treatment Options?

  • If you have TMJD, you must have your jaws healed. The first step is to consult with a qualified dentist to address the underlying cause of your toothache. Rather than relying on self-medication, it is always preferable to begin proper treatment.
  • If you have a toothache, you should take a pain reliever as your dentist prescribes.
  • To relieve a toothache, apply an ice pack, or a towel dipped in cold, icy water to the affected area. Because of tooth sensitivity, putting ice directly on your tooth will increase the pain tenfold.
  • You can also use numbing gel to relieve the pain in your tooth. It, in turn, will alleviate your headache.
  • Small amounts of food getting stuck inside your teeth or between your gums can also cause toothache. So cleaning your teeth thoroughly and flossing regularly is critical to avoid toothache.
  • Avoid chocolates and sweets. If you develop a cavity, you should see your dentist right away.

Wrapping Up:

If you have a new headache or toothache, don’t ignore it; instead, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Even for healthcare providers, identifying the underlying issue can be difficult, so your persistence will aid in resolving the issue. If you have had dental procedures for toothaches and have not found relief, you should see a dentist. It is reasonable to consult with your primary care provider before seeing a specialist. To have your condition diagnosed, your dentist may refer you to a headache
specialist, neurologist, or ENT doctor.

Do you have a toothache? Or do you need an emergency dentist in Roswell or emergency dental care in Roswell, GA, or nearby areas such as Sandy Springs, Milton, Marietta, Alpharetta, Dunwoody, or Woodstock? Call us at (678) 321-7575 or visit our website to book an appointment with top dentists in Roswell.