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Can a toothache cause a headache?

Sometimes a toothache can cause a headache, but not always for the same reasons. This pain can be caused by irritation of a nerve called the trigeminal nerve (fifth cranial nerve), which can affect the appearance of your face. Sometimes you have a toothache and headache on one side of your head due to an underlying disease, such as a sinus infection or dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint.

In this article, the relationship between toothache and headache is described. Also, if you experience both symptoms of the disease at the same time, the things you need to know in this regard will be explained to you.

Migraine headache caused by toothache

There are many reasons why a tooth may be damaged, including tooth decay, tooth cracking, and crowding, which is when the tooth does not fully erupt from the gum. If these cases are not treated, a person can suffer from headaches.

Migraine headaches are throbbing and usually on one side of the head. This pain can be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light or sound.

Experts believe that the connection between toothache and headache is related to the trigeminal nerve. The cranial nerve controls facial and eye movements and emotions. This nerve affects almost most of your face, which includes the upper and lower lip, teeth, and gums.

The trigeminal nerve is thought to play an important role in headache relief. In this case, the pain caused by a toothache may irritate the nerve and cause a headache.

Transmission of toothache to the head

In addition to toothache that causes headaches, tooth decay or advanced gum disease can transmit pain to the head. Referral pain means that you feel pain in one part of your body that is caused elsewhere. This pain is related to many nerve connections (via the trigeminal nerve) that connect the teeth and other parts of the face to the brain.

When people have oral and dental problems, they must go to their health specialist to diagnose the type of tension headache or migraine headaches.

Tooth decay and gum disease both originate from the accumulation of bacteria in the teeth, which is usually the result of poor brushing and flossing habits. If these cases are not treated, tooth decay can lead to tooth decay and tooth abscesses.

Sometimes dental infection can lead to serious and dangerous secondary diseases such as sepsis. Therefore, early detection of infection is important and it is necessary to be treated by an oral and dental specialist.

Symptoms of tooth infection include:

  • Severe toothache
  • Bitterness in the mouth
  • Bad Breath
  • Fever
  • Pain when chewing
  • Sensitivity of teeth to heat or cold
  • Purulent swelling of the gum above the swollen tooth in the form of a pimple
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Swelling of the upper or lower jaw

Swelling of the upper or lower jaw can indicate a dangerous infection. Especially when this swelling is accompanied by other signs of infection such as fever or difficulty opening the mouth. If you see such a symptom, contact your healthcare professional immediately.

Background diseases that cause toothache and headache

Some conditions can lead to headaches and toothaches but are not related to dental problems or headaches.

teeth grinding (bruxism)

A great example of pain referred to in the head is teeth grinding. A condition in which a person constantly clenches or grinds their teeth together. Teeth grinding often occurs at night.

A grinding headache is often referred to as a dull ache that occurs around the head or behind the eyes. Other symptoms of teeth grinding include:

  • Severe pain in teeth and jaw muscles
  • Sounding the temporomandibular joint
  • Difficulty opening and closing the mouth

Sinus infection

A sinus infection can lead to pain in one or more teeth, especially in your upper tooth, which is located under the maxillary sinus. (behind your cheekbones)

Another common symptom of a sinus infection is a sinus headache that gets worse when you bend forward.

Other symptoms of a sinus infection include:

  • Fever
  • tiredness
  • Nasal congestion and yellow or green mucus
  • Ear pressure or fullness
  • hard breathing

Temporomandibular joint disorder

Temporomandibular joints are two joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull. These two joints work with jaw muscles to move your lower jaw up and down, allowing you to chew, yawn, speak, and swallow.

The temporomandibular joint disorder occurs when the lower jaw and its muscles are misaligned or do not move at the same time. This misalignment can be caused by several reasons, including teeth grinding or a blow to the jaw.

In addition to toothache, temporomandibular joint disorder often causes headaches (including migraine headaches). Headaches caused by temporomandibular joint disorders are usually called shooting pains that start near the ear and move to the jaw, temple, or neck. These pains are usually associated with jaw movements such as chewing or opening and closing the mouth.

Trigeminal neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia is chronic pain caused by pressure or damage to the trigeminal nerve. This disorder causes a sudden attack of very painful, shooting, or severe throbbing pain in the face that is almost always only on one side of the face.

In many cases, the pain is felt along the upper or lower jaw. People often go to their dentist before going to their hygienist because they think their tooth is rotten. It is not unusual for a person to have one or more root canals or several extractable teeth before the diagnosis of trigeminal neuralgia.

Formation of a blood clot in the cavernous sinus

This disorder is rare, but if it is not treated, it can lead to a dangerous and serious disease called cavernous sinus blood clot disease. This means that there is a blood clot in an area of the brain behind the eye in the cavernous sinus. This clot is formed when the infection in the face or head reaches the brain.

The main symptom in this situation is a severe headache that usually affects the back of the eyes or the forehead. In addition to a severe headache, other symptoms of a blood clot in the cavernous sinus include:

  • high fever
  • Poor eye movement
  • Eyelid swelling
  • Pupil protrusion

When to see your health care professional

If you have recently developed a persistent toothache or headache, see your healthcare professional or dentist in Richmond Hill. Diagnosing the underlying cause of a toothache or headache can be difficult, but you must reach the correct diagnosis. So you can get the right treatment.

If you’ve had dental surgery to treat a toothache that hasn’t worked, talk to your healthcare professional about seeing other health professionals who specialize in headaches, nerve conditions, or ear, nose, and throat problems.

How to treat toothache and headache

If you have toothache and headache at the same time, it may take a long time to see more than one health professional. It’s important to continue working on the correct diagnosis so you can get the right treatment for what’s causing your pain.

It may be all you need to get a filling, take antibiotics for a sinus infection, or wear a mouth guard at night to stop you from grinding your teeth. If the problem is more complicated, it is necessary to go to a specialist, and the sooner you meet with a specialist, the better.

While you’re waiting to see your healthcare professional or dentist, you can use over-the-counter pain relievers to get rid of toothaches and headaches. Research shows that ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are better than opioid pain relievers for toothache.

You may find that applying a cold compress to the painful area of your face helps relieve toothache. You can also put a cold compress on your head or neck to relieve migraine pain. Protect your skin by just placing a clean cloth between your body and the compress.


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