The Link Between Toothaches And Headaches

The Link Between Toothaches And Headaches

Often, what causes a person to seek out dental services is dental pain. A toothache can start as a small, nagging pain, but if it is ignored for too long, the discomfort can become more intense and trigger a headache.

Dr. Taylor—our dentist here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry—is often asked about why toothaches cause headaches. The short answer is that toothaches trigger headaches due to a cranial nerve connection. However, the long answer is a little more complicated.

What Causes Toothaches To Trigger Headaches

Toothaches can be caused by a number of dental issues, such as a cavity, an impacted tooth, cracked or chipped teeth, an abscess, and other oral health problems. Since most of these issues don’t come with visible signs, the pain of the toothache is one of the few noticeable indicators that something is wrong.

Now, for how the pain of your toothache causes a headache. There are twelve cranial nerves, and the nerve that senses how the majority of your face feels—gums, lips, and teeth—is called the trigeminal nerve.

This nerve has branches all over your teeth, lips, and gums, so when you have a dental problem causing pain, the trigeminal nerve sends that painful sensation information to your brain.

Dental Problems Referring Pain To The Head

This transmission of pain is also called referred pain. While there is no pain point in your head that triggers the headache, the pain of your toothache can create the sensation of pain.

In fact, you may not notice the toothache if you are dealing with a sufficiently painful migraine. Some people end up going to their primary care physician about migraines and tension headaches when the issue really is a problem with their oral health.

Another example of referred pain would be headaches triggered by bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Bruxism is when you clench your jaw or grind your teeth without actively meaning to do it. Often, bruxism occurs in your sleep, and you may wake up with a sore jaw, aching teeth, and a headache.

With TMJ, the issue is generally caused by an issue with your jaw joint as well as the surrounding muscles. Along with causing toothaches, TMJ can make the area around your jaw joint, ear, neck, and temple ache. This aching pain can trigger headaches, tension headaches, and migraines.

Ways You Can Prevent Headache-Causing Dental Issues

Naturally, if you have a cavity, abscess, impacted teeth, or other issues that are triggering headaches, you will need to have them addressed by Dr. Taylor. That way, you can start to heal and not be plagued by dental pain and potentially migraines.

On top of having the immediate dental problems taken care of, there are other ways you can

  • Have regular dental cleanings – By having regular, biannual dental cleanings, you can protect yourself from future headaches brought on by toothaches. Our staff will be able to detect problem areas, and Dr. Taylor can advise you on treatments to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
  • Consider a custom nightguard – If you struggle with bruxism, you can prevent the morning headaches caused by teeth grinding and clenching with a custom-made nightguard. As a custom nightguard is made by Dr. Taylor taking an impression of your teeth, the guard will fit you excellently and help protect your teeth from grinding and clenching.
  • Focus on optimal oral care – Taking care of your daily oral care is one of the best things you can do to prevent future toothaches. Brushing your teeth at least once in the morning and at night, as well as flossing once a day can help maintain your oral health. You may also want to consider using a mouthwash that helps eliminate bacteria.
  • Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth – Should you have sensitive teeth that trigger headaches, you may want to ask Dr. Taylor about what toothpaste for sensitive teeth would be best for you. That way, you can enjoy things like ice cream or hot soup without your teeth hurt.

If you are having dental troubles and want compassionate, expert care to help you manage your oral health, then you should contact us for an appointment. No matter what shape your teeth are in, Dr. Taylor will help get you back on track.

How Do Dentists Treat A Tooth Abscess?

How Do Dentists Treat A Tooth Abscess?

 

Ever wonder why dentists like Dr. Taylor here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry stress the importance of addressing cavities and not putting off having the tooth decay treated?

Well, naturally, part of it is due to the fact that tooth decay can spread to other teeth, and the cavity can impact your overall health. But part of the concern stems from trying to prevent a tooth abscess.

What Is A Tooth Abscess

A tooth abscess—also referred to as an abscessed tooth or a dental abscess—is when a pocket of pus is created by bacteria that has infected your tooth. A tooth abscess can be quite painful, with the pain generally located around the area of the jaw that is infected, to your ears, and your neck.

Along with the pain associated with a tooth abscess, this dental condition can become a serious condition if left untreated. In fact, along with killing the tooth, if the infection enters your bloodstream, you could die from the resulting spread of infectious bacteria.

Types Of Tooth Abscess

There are three basic types of tooth abscesses that you might experience. Where the dental abscess is located will be how its type is classified.

  • Periodontal abscess – With this type of abscess, it is located your gums near the root of the infected tooth. Due to its position, a periodontal abscess may spread more quickly to the surrounding gum tissue and jawbone.
  • Periapical abscess – A periapical abscess is positioned at the tip of your tooth’s root. It does usually expand as quickly as a periodontal abscess, but it can quickly cause the infected tooth to die if untreated.
  • Gingival abscess – This type of abscess is located on your gums. It may or may not break through the gums to be externally visible.

Signs You Have A Tooth Abscess

You may have a variety of signs and symptoms that come with a tooth abscess. Often, throbbing, frequent pain in your gums centered around a tooth is a good indicator that it is time to visit our dental clinic. This pain often comes on all at once and will grow worse.

Other potential signs of an abscessed tooth are:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Swelling of the face and overall redness
  • Increase of pain when you lie down
  • Constant bad breath
  • Fever
  • Pain when biting or chewing
  • Loosened tooth
  • Radiating pain in jaw, ear, or neck
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes in the neck

You may have several of these signs and symptoms, though you aren’t likely to experience all of them. Once you notice a couple of these signs, it is to come in to see Dr. Taylor and get your tooth abscess taken care of properly.

How An Abscessed Tooth Is Addressed

As part of our dental services, Dr. Taylor can address an abscessed tooth. Generally, he will begin with an x-ray. With this dental x-ray, he can gain a better idea of the severity of the abscess, the location, and determine the best treatment for your needs. Some of the potential treatment options are:

  • Root canal – As abscessed teeth are often caused by infected teeth, a root canal will allow our dentist to remove the infected material, seal the area, and likely crown your tooth to protect it.
  • Abscess drain – Depending on the location of the abscess, Dr. Taylor may opt to drain the abscess. He would make an incision to release the pocket of pus and cleanse the area to help prevent further infection.
  • Object removal – Sometimes, something small like a popcorn kernel can be the cause of a tooth abscess. Our dentist will remove the foreign object and clean the area.
  • Dental extraction – At times, the tooth where the abscess developed is too damaged and needs to be removed to properly drain the abscess. There are a number of dental replacement options that you can explore after the extraction and the tooth abscess has healed.
  • Antibiotics prescription – When an infection stemming from the abscess spreads, it can require antibiotics to combat the problem. Depending on your needs, Dr. Taylor may prescribe antibiotics to clear out any remaining infection.

Depending on your tooth abscess, one or more of these treatment options will be utilized to address the issue.

When it comes to caring for your dental health in Billings, MT, you can count on Dr. Taylor and the rest of our dental staff. If you are ready to set up your dental check-up or would like to consult with Dr. Taylor about a smile makeover, feel free to contact us for an appointment.

How Do You Maintain White Teeth?

Once you’ve had your teeth whitened, along with admiring your revitalized smile, you may be thinking, “Wait, how do I keep my teeth white?”

While teeth are naturally porous and yellow over time, there is a variety of things you can do to maintain your bright white smile. Some of these steps will include keeping up with your daily oral care, skipping teeth-staining foods and other consumables, and coming into our dental clinic for the occasional whitening touch-up.

But overall, by practicing sensible care, you should be able to protect and maintain your white teeth without any extreme measures needed.

Keep Teeth White With Good Oral Hygiene

The daily care of your teeth is critical if you want to maintain the whiteness. This means at least brushing your teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once at night before bed. Along with teeth brushing, you should floss once a day to ensure that there is no debris trapped between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach.

Mouthwash can be helpful as well to support your oral health and keep your teeth white. Some types of mouthwash can be especially abrasive and kill off the good bacteria in your mouth as well as the bad, so it is best to discuss your options with our dentist, especially if you have gingivitis.

Choose The Right Toothpastes And Toothbrushes

In an effort to keep their teeth white, some people scrub their teeth with hard-bristled toothbrushes. All this harsh treatment is doing is wearing down their enamel. As the enamel is worn down, more of the dentin below shows through the remaining enamel. Since dentin is yellow, it will make your teeth appear more yellow than white.

Rather than assaulting your teeth, you should be using a soft-bristle toothbrush and gently brushing for two minutes. As for the toothpaste that you should use, you may want two different toothpastes—a whitening toothpaste and a fluoride-rich toothpaste. Using a whitening toothpaste two times a week can help keep off the surface stains while using a fluoride-rich toothpaste will help support your teeth’s overall health.

Come In For Dental Cleanings

Working with your local Billings, MT, dentist is an excellent way to support both your dental health and keep your whitened teeth bright. At your dental cleaning, issues can be found quickly so that there isn’t a weak point on your teeth where bacteria can darken them and create cavities.

Also, during your dental cleaning, your teeth are cleaned of all lingering dental plaque. Since plaque creates a foothold for bacteria in your mouth and is prone to staining, it is highly advised to come in for your regular cleanings to keep your teeth healthy and white.

Avoid Teeth-Staining Drinks And Foods

Once you have taken the time to undergo teeth whitening treatments, you don’t want to immediately start consuming things that are going to stain your teeth. While you don’t have to cut out all the foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, you may want to reduce how much you consume.

Teeth-Staining Drinks

When it comes to teeth-staining drinks, they often can have a greater impact than foods that stain, since some people instinctively swish drinks. Some of the drinks you may want to cut back on or avoid entirely are:

  • Coffee
  • Red wine
  • Tea
  • Sports drinks
  • Dark juices

Overall, it is best to reduce how much you consume of these drinks if you want to keep your teeth white. But if you use a straw, you can cut down on some of the visible stains that come with these drinks.

Foods That Can Stain

Along with different drinks, there are various foods that can stain your teeth, though they are a little less likely to cause staining, as foods don’t usually permeate your mouth the ways drinks do.

  • Dark-colored berries (blackberries, pomegranates, blueberries, etc.)
  • Popsicles
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Sauces (tomato sauce, soy sauce, curry sauce, etc.)
  • Beets

Eliminate Tobacco Use

If you use tobacco in any form—chew, smoke, or vape—you should know that it is contributing to the staining of your teeth. The nicotine is the main culprit behind the staining, though there are other additives that can help add to the yellowing of a tobacco user’s teeth. Also, along with staining your teeth, tobacco use often discolors the tongue.

Work With Taylor Cosmetic Dental For Teeth Whitening Touch-Ups

Even with the best dental practices, it is natural for teeth to teeth to turn a bit yellow over time. To help maintain your white teeth, you can always come into our dental office for teeth whitening touch up.

It is best to work directly with our dentist, as Dr. Taylor can provide you with whitening treatments that are far stronger than any over-the-counter solution. That way, you have a whiter, brighter smile sooner.

If you would like to get a whitening touch-up or start up teeth whitening treatments, contact us to set up your consultation today!

Direct From The Dentist: What Too Much Soda Does To Your Teeth

Most people are aware that soda isn’t the best for your overall health. Not only is soda linked to type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and obesity, but did you know that it can have a severe impact on your teeth? Well, your friendly local dentist at Taylor Cosmetic Dental is here to tell you all about how too much soda affects your teeth.

How Soda Interacts With Your Teeth And Mouth

Before we jump right in, let’s lay some groundwork information. First, there are hundreds of types of bacteria which live in your mouth. A lot of this bacteria is helpful and assists in breaking down your food and helps clean your mouth to a certain extent. However, there are harmful bacteria that come to eat leftover food particles, especially sugar, and that bacteria excrete acid that wears down the enamel of your teeth.

So, you already have acid being created in your mouth by these bacteria, then you add soda. All types of soda, both full sugar as well as sugar-free soda, have their own acid. The acid from the soda adds to the wear and tear that the bacteria starts, leading to significant dental damage. Also, as the sugar in soda interacts with the bacteria in your mouth, it creates another type of acid which can hurt your teeth.

Also, you may think, “Well, I’ll just use a straw! Then the soda won’t hit my teeth.” While it’s not a bad thought, it doesn’t really work that way. Since the straw doesn’t go from your cup to your throat, some of the soda will interact with your teeth, especially your back molars.

What Soda Does To Your Teeth

Okay, now that you have a clear idea about how soda and bacteria produce acid that harms your teeth, let’s talk about exactly what kind of damage we are talking about.

Soda erodes your teeth – The outer layer of your teeth is covered in enamel, a hard protective layer for the sensitive dentin and nerves below. When you drink soda, you are giving your enamel an acid bath, which slowly erodes the protective enamel.

Soda strongly contributes to cavities – The wear and tear on your teeth don’t stop at the enamel. As soda erodes the protective enamel of your teeth, the acid can make its way down to the next layer, which is the dentin. Once these openings in your teeth are made, cavities are a natural result, and you will need our dentist’s services to resolve the cavities and other issues that can arise.

Ways To Prevent Dental Damage From Soda

There are several ways you can prevent soda from damaging your teeth. Below are some of the top things that our dentist Dr. Taylor recommends:

  • Lower soda consumption – Moderation in all things, especially your soda consumption, can significantly help your teeth. Do your best to stick to one soda a day to help give your teeth a break from the sugar and acid bath that comes with soda.
  • Rinse with water – Immediately after you finish a soda, rinse your mouth out by drinking water. The neutral quality of water can help lessen the impact of your soda and help wash away the acid and sugar. In fact, if you can keep water handy to sip on after drinking a soda, you can also prevent getting up for another soda.
  • Stick to scheduled dental cleanings – If you are a regular soda drinker, then it is even more important that you come into our dental office for your biannual dental cleaning. That way, any issues which crop up can be caught early before they become a big issue.
  • Don’t sip soda – As you drink your soda, don’t slowly sip on it. By sipping soda over the course of an hour or more, you are constantly bathing your teeth in acid and sugar, inviting more bacteria and acid to build up and damage your teeth. So, if you are going to drink soda, do it quickly.
  • Use a straw – While we did say using a straw won’t protect you completely, it does offer some protection at least for your front teeth. By using a straw, you can minimize how much of your teeth come in contact with the corrosive soda acid.
  • Avoid soda before bed – Drinking soda before bed is probably one of the more harmful ways to consume soda since the acid will sit on your teeth as you sleep. So, if you want something to drink by your bedside, stick to water.
  • Wait to brush teeth – It may seem counterintuitive, but you shouldn’t brush your teeth right after drinking soda. With the soda acid on your teeth, your teeth are more vulnerable, and the bristles of your toothbrush can create harmful friction against your teeth, leading to more damage. It’s best to wait at least 30 minutes to an hour after drinking soda before brushing your teeth.

If you are prepared to come in for your dental cleaning and have your teeth checked by Dr. Taylor, contact us. We are ready to help you reach your healthiest and ideal smile!

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT:406.652.9204