When A Toothache Isn’t Just a Toothache

Toothaches can happen to everyone, and with so many sugar-rich foods in the average diet, our teeth can be under nearly constant attack. It’s only due to advances in dental technology that we can keep our smiles as health as we do in spite of the deliciously unhealthy things we might consume. But this doesn’t mean that you should brush aside your concerns about the occasional toothache — there are a few underlying conditions they these pains might be trying to warn you about.

Sinus Pressure on your Teeth and Nerves

Your sinuses are located below and behind your eyes, which is just above your teeth. Sinuses are also prone to infections and blockages, something usually treated with antibiotics or other medicines. Many of us Florida residents are familiar with the congestion of allergy season, which can further increase the pressure in your sinuses. More frequent sufferers of sinus allergies and infections might have already made the association between this pressure and pain in their teeth, but for others, the connection might not be so obvious.

Treatment for sinus infections is fairly standard. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen is suggested for dealing with mild pain. Decongestants and nasal sprays may prove helpful if the infection is causing congestion, which can put pressure on your dental nerves. Heat pads applied to your face may also possibly help, and simple home-made salt water solutions may also provide some relief.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

A condition commonly known as ‘TMJ’ can also be a reason for a sharp toothache. The joint it affects, the temporomandibular joint, is what connects the jaw to the skull. The condition is usually characterized by pain in the neck and head, a sound not dissimilar to a clicking noise when chewing, having difficulty or experiencing discomfort when biting, and pain in the jaw and teeth ranging from ‘mild’ to ‘severe.’

TMJ is typically treated non-surgically with anti-inflammatory drugs being common along with muscle relaxers. Mouth guards and physical therapy may also be recommended by your doctor or dentist. If necessary, surgical treatments will have to be looked at. These range from non-invasive procedures such as injections to relieve the joint pressure all the way up to the extremely rare open-joint surgery.

Cardiac Arrest

On the extreme end of the scale of conditions associated with toothache, cardiac arrest is something that can occasionally cause an unexplained sharp pain in your teeth. This does not mean that you are having a heart attack, so there’s no need to give yourself one. But if you are someone with a personal or family history of cardiac issues, this is one more potential sign to be vigilant of.

Your teeth aren’t likely to be behind any such troubles with your heart, of course, and keeping them healthy may not distance yourself from any predisposition towards conditions of the heart, but your body as a whole — heart and teeth included — stand to benefit from a healthy diet and regular exercise.