What’s a Dental Headache?

beautiful woman with a headacheYour dental health has a significant influence on your daily life. One of your most consistent daily routines (hopefully) is brushing and flossing your teeth, and your confidence shows in your smile, which can brighten the day of those around you. When your teeth, gums, or jaw are compromised, the discomfort and consequences can also affect your overall comfort and wellbeing. Though toothaches are popular signs of dental trouble, your Rochester dentist explains that chronic headaches can also plague patients with certain types of dental health issues.

Getting On Your Nerves

When your bite is imbalanced or your jaw is placed under extreme pressure, the joints can suffer damage, become inflamed, or be forced out of alignment (TMJ disorder). The nerve that innervates your jaw, known as the trigeminal nerve, is the most dominant of your 12 cranial nerve groups, providing the majority of sensory information to your brain. As the nerve around your jaw is disturbed, the pain can be transferred throughout your head, neck, and face, leading to frequent headaches, earaches, jaw pain, and facial stiffness indicative of TMJ disorder.

Stress of the Grind

Like your jaw, your teeth are designed to sustain a certain amount of pressure. Too much stress and a host of problems can arise, including dental damage and TMJ disorder. Habitual teeth-grinding, or bruxism, is common in children and adults alike, and aside from exacerbating TMJ disorder, the stress of habitual grinding can also make your head hurt. If your teeth are excessively worn down, or if Dr. Calcagno notices other signs of bruxism, then treating your condition may relieve your headaches, as well as save your teeth from each other.

Extreme Cavities

Having a cavity can be a headache in and of itself, but as the infection eats away at your tooth, it can literally trigger a severe headache if the decay reaches your tooth’s nerves. Tooth decay is a bacterial infection that, once in contact with your tooth’s nerves and blood vessels, can kill the living tissues and destroy the tooth. Patients with severe tooth decay may develop an abscess, or pocket of infection, that can damage the gums and jawbone around the tooth’s root. Aside from chronic headaches, abscessed teeth can also generate fever, persistent bad breath, and more infected teeth if not treated promptly.

About Your Rochester Dentist:

Dr. Gilly Calcagno is a member of the Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the American Dental Association, and the Minnesota Dental Association, and is active in local dental implant study clubs. To schedule a consultation, or to learn more about how the ACA will affect your family’s dental care, call Calcagno Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry today at (507) 281-3659.