A toothache is worrisome but what’s more daunting is when it is characterized by headache or migraine. So no, you were not overthinking. Toothache can cause dizziness, migraine headaches, and ear pain sometimes. If you are still figuring out ‘if toothache causes a headache, you MUST check what we are about to say next.
While it is a topic of discussion, the real concern should be how toothache triggers headaches. Severe toothache accompanied by headache indicates an underlying health issue like sinus. Below we have answered your queries like ‘can a toothache cause a headache, sinus or sore throat as well as what type of toothache triggers these health conditions.
Quick Fact about headaches: 50% of people who have migraines don’t realize they have them and confuse them with ‘tension headaches.’
Can a Toothache cause a Headache and Earache?
As said previously, a toothache can cause a headache. However, when you have a toothache precisely due to a dental infection, it affects your body in so many unexpected ways and if left untreated, it makes you feel lightheaded, as a result of which you feel headache or dizziness. It also indicates that your tooth infection has spread to the surrounding nerves and impacts your balance.
10 Important Causes of Toothache
Dental pain is excruciating and can occur due to a variety of factors. The following are the common causes of toothache:
- Wisdom tooth eruption
- Cracked teeth
- Dental infection
- Sinus infection
- TMJ misalignment
- Tooth abscess
- Gum tenderness
- Swollen jaw
- Root canal
These are the trigger points for toothache that may eventually lead to dizziness and headaches.
Can a Toothache cause Ear Pain and Headache?
Well, a migraine is also a kind of headache, so yeah, just like headaches and dizziness. It can definitely be linked to toothache. For those who don’t know, a migraine is a sharp, throbbing pain on one side of the head accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to sound or light.
According to some experts, a cranial nerve called trigeminal forms a connection between toothaches and migraines as the nerve serves as a center point for controlling eye and facial movement sensations. Also, these nerves are responsible for transmitting feelings to your teeth, gums, and upper and lower lip.
The trigeminal nerve plays an important role in causing migraines. When a toothache occurs, it irritates the particular nerve and triggers a migraine.
Other Dental Conditions that Trigger Toothache
Persistent headaches due to toothache can be more efficiently treated by a dentist than a physician. Below we have discussed in detail which dental conditions trigger a toothache. If you notice similar symptoms in your case, you must visit a dentist.
1. Bad Bite
You may be hearing this term for the first time. It refers to loose, misaligned or missing teeth. In this dental condition, the jaw muscles work more than their capacity to maintain the teeth alignment and keep the mouth closed, resulting in headaches and even eye pain.
2. Complicated Root Canal
Root canal complications could be another reason for headache, dizziness, or vertigo. While there have been very few cases of failed root canals, it happens when you get it done by an inexperienced dentist. In fact, in some cases, a root canal can also cause inflammation in the sinus cavities causing headaches and congestion. Apart from that, some pain relief medications that dentists prescribe after a root canal can also make you feel lightheaded.
3. Grinding or Clenching
Teeth grinding or clenching is a common problem that happens due to stress mostly. In medical terms, this condition is called Bruxism or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. It typically happens involuntarily during sleep. It exerts pressure on your jaws, causing headaches when you wake up.
4. Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is another possible reason for headaches or migraine. The person suffering tooth decay may not even know that it’s their dental condition causing headaches and may actually believe it's happening due to other reasons. So yeah, the next time you have a severe headache or eye pain, check your teeth.
5. Impacted Wisdom Tooth
A wisdom tooth is referred to as impacted when it fails to emerge naturally and take its expected placement in the mouth. This condition usually happens when there is less space between the teeth (not enough for the wisdom tooth to erupt) hence, cause severe headaches and pain in the jaw. In such cases, it is suggested to consult an expert dentist.
6. Abscessed Tooth
A tooth abscess is a painful condition that occurs either between the gums and the tooth or at the root of the tooth. When tooth decay is left untreated, it turns into an abscess, causes severe pain in the mouth, and causes throbbing headaches. For such conditions, the dentist recommends a root canal as the best course of action for such conditions.
Can a Toothache cause a Headache and Sore Throat?
Unfortunately, a few dental conditions can cause sore throats if not treated on time. For instance, when a wisdom tooth fails to emerge fully, it is likely to cause infection in the mouth. Food particles and bacteria start to accumulate around that area leading to tooth abscesses. And as we said earlier, a tooth abscess can spread the bacteria to other parts of the mouth, causing a sore throat. This is mostly the case with lower wisdom teeth.
In worse situations, the person may feel jaw pain, tenderness, and high fever, causing trouble swallowing and opening their mouth.
The best way to treat an impacted wisdom tooth is to get it extracted and clean the socket beneath it to remove bacterial infection. Once it’s done, all the symptoms will vanish gradually.
Can a Toothache give you a Headache and Earache?
Depending on the cause and severity of the pain, the toothache can extend to other parts of the body, like the ear and throat. In fact, many oral health problems like abscesses, cavities, or impacted wisdom teeth can lead to earache. Therefore, dental intervention is necessary if the pain lasts more than a few days.
How do I know if my Tooth is causing my Ear Pain?
Toothache can be deceptive. You cannot exactly tell what caused it or if your earache is due to toothache. So here are a few tips to differentiate between earache and toothache. If you experience earache while having a cold or flu, it is more likely due to a sinus infection. However, if the earache is accompanied by jaw and neck pain with swelling around the affected tooth, it’s likely due to toothache.
Can Home Remedies help with Headaches and Migraine due to Toothache?
Since you cannot visit a dentist every now and then, especially when your dental insurance is ending, we have suggested a few home remedies that might relieve headaches and migraines.
- Increase your water intake
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Take over-the-counter magnesium supplements
- Get enough sleep
- Try to avoid stress
- Apply ice packs or heating pads to the affected area to reduce toothache and headache eventually.
- Avoid grinding or clenching your teeth. Taking a warm shower and exercising before sleep can help with this.
By now, it must be clear to you that toothache can cause a headache and migraine. If you are feeling any symptoms of toothache, consult your dentist at the earliest before it leads to a headache or earache. Also, appear for your routine checkups every 6 months to identify any early symptoms of decay or abscess.