Is Your Sinus Headache Actually a Toothache or TMJ?
It’s allergy season again in Philadelphia, and for some people that means irritated eyes and runny noses. But for others it means headaches.
When you have allergies, your body triggers an aggressive immune system response to something that is relatively benign, like pollen. One of the effects of this can be swelling in the lining of your sinuses. This can cause a painful sensation in your cheeks, around your eyes, and in your forehead. The pain may be constant, or it may pulse with your heartbeat.
However, it turns out that sinus headaches are actually very rare, and that many people who have been diagnosed with them actually have migraines or tension headaches.
They may also be related to a toothache.
Toothaches and Sinus Infections
If you have a persistent toothache that you have been ignoring, either by dealing with the pain or taking over-the-counter medication, it may actually have become more serious. A toothache is often a sign that tooth decay has penetrated close to or into the nerve of the tooth. Once an infection enters the tooth nerve, it can travel through the inside of the tooth into the sinuses, resulting in recurring sinus infections that may cause pain, fever, and other symptoms.
If you used to have a toothache, but now you have sinus headaches, you need to see a dentist. You may need a root canal to stop your headaches.
Migraine, Tension Headaches, and TMJ
Tension headaches are the most common type of headaches. They occur when overworked or tense muscles experience pain because of their exertion or put pressure on nearby nerves and other tissues. Migraines are not fully understood, but they seem to be related to excessive stimulation of certain nerves that trigger a complex response in the vascular system of the brain.
TMJ starts as an imbalance in the jaw, but it can lead to excess muscle tension in the muscles of the head, contributing to tension headaches. Tension headaches can serve as a trigger for migraines.
TMJ can also trigger migraines through jaw pain or by causing pressure on certain nerves, especially the trigeminal nerve, which is a known trigger point for migraines.
It should be noted that sinus inflammation can also serve as a migraine trigger, and people with migraines often get more of them during allergy season.
To get the best possible migraine and headache treatment, it’s important to determine the actual cause of your headache. If you have persistent headaches that resist treatment, you should be evaluated for TMJ to find out whether it might be the cause. For a TMJ evaluation in Philadelphia, please call 610-272-0828 for an appointment with a dentist at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell today.