When we think of a toothache, the first culprits that come to mind are usually things that require restorative dentistry, like cavities, gum disease, or dental trauma. While these are indeed the most common causes of dental discomfort, there exists a world of uncommon triggers for toothaches that often go ignored or unnoticed. In this blog, we explore some of these less-recognized factors that can leave you with a throbbing toothache.
Are you currently living with a painful toothache? Contact Dr. Matthew L. Bridges at Chisholm Trail Smile Center in Duncan, OK, at (580) 255-4880 now.
1. Sinus Infections
It might come as a surprise, but sinus infections can lead to toothaches. The maxillary sinus (located just above our upper molars) can become inflamed and press against the roots of our teeth, causing referred pain (pain in a location other than the origin).
If you’re experiencing an upper toothache along with nasal congestion and facial pressure, it’s worth considering the possibility of a sinus infection.
2. Ear Problems
Issues with your ears (such as ear infections or impacted earwax) can also cause pressure and referred pain to your teeth and jaw. The close proximity of the ear canal and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can result in discomfort that feels like a toothache.
3. Heart Problems
In some rare cases, heart conditions (like angina or a heart attack) can manifest as dental pain. The pain often radiates to the jaw and teeth, mimicking severe dental pain.
Bruxism (unintentional teeth grinding and clenching) goes hand-in-hand with jaw and dental pain. The excessive pressure on teeth can cause them to become sensitive and even crack or fracture, resulting in painful teeth.
5. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)
TMD can cause pain in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles, but it can also radiate to the teeth. Jaw clicking, limited mouth opening, and facial pain are all accompanying symptoms of TMD.
Severe allergic reactions (especially to allergens like nuts or shellfish) can cause facial swelling. This rapid swelling can put pressure on the teeth and result in pain. If you experience sudden dental pain along with facial swelling after consuming a known allergen, seek medical attention immediately.
7. Trigeminal Neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia is a rare and excruciating condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which provides sensation to the face and teeth. Even the slightest touch or movement can trigger intense bursts of pain that feel like severe toothaches.
8. Medication Side Effects
Some medications (particularly those that affect blood flow or bone density) can lead to toothaches as a side effect. If you notice new tooth pain after starting a new medication, consult your healthcare provider.
9. Nutritional Deficiencies
Inadequate intake of essential nutrients (like calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin C) can lead to weakened teeth and gums, resulting in dental pain. A balanced diet and proper nutrition are crucial for warding off dental issues.
While it’s rare, certain types of head and neck cancers can cause toothaches as a symptom. If you experience persistent and unexplained tooth pain, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation.
Have a toothache? Our Duncan dentist can help!
If you’re unsure about the cause of your toothache, don’t hesitate to consult with Dr. Bridges at Chisholm Trail Smile Center in Duncan, OK. You can schedule appointments with Dr. Bridges online here, or you can call our team at (580) 255-4880 for more help and information.