Can Dental Problems Cause Migraines?

March 27, 2023

If you’re having a migraine (severe headache) alongside a dental problem, you might associate the two conditions. Is it possible that the two are interconnected? A short answer—it all depends. Your migraine might be a result of your toothache. On the other hand, the two might be arising from an underlying condition (such as trigeminal neuralgia or a sinus infection). Other things that may be responsible for your migraine may include but might not be limited to weather, lifestyle factors, certain medications, hormones, and environmental factors. If you experience migraine, you may suffer conditions like facial tingling, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, dizziness, and nausea. For diverse treatment options, visit Allure Dental.

Research from the migraine research foundation says at least one billion people are globally susceptible to migraine. Headache is a typical sign of migraine, though most people use them interchangeably. Headaches are unpleasant and short-lived, and they make you feel a steady arching sensation at your forehead, back neck, and temples. 

Also, read how you can ease the pain of Fibromyalgia naturally?

Dental Issues That Can Trigger Migraines


Toothache can result from a myriad of conditions. You can suffer toothache due to impacted wisdom teeth, cracked teeth, or cavities, among others. When you neglect to treat these factors, you might end up developing a migraine. 

According to most experts, toothache and migraines are interconnected by the trigeminal nerve, facilitating eye and facial movements. Besides, the trigeminal nerve is responsible for various sensations within your face, providing feeling to your lips (upper and lower), teeth, and gums. Experts believe that the trigeminal nerve has a massive role in causing migraines. For your case, the pain coming from your toothache shifts towards the nerve, impacting it and triggering a migraine.

Referred Tooth Pain

Advanced tooth decay can sometimes ‘refer’ pain to your head. When pain is referred to in your body, you feel a painful sensation in an area other than the one causing the pain. Again, this addresses back to the Trigeminal nerve connecting your facial components to your brain. 

Bruxism is a crucial example of referred pain. Individuals with bruxism may grind or clench their teeth routinely, typically at night. Pain resulting from bruxism is termed dull pain and usually occurs behind your eyes or wraps around your head. Bruxism can also cause other conditions like jaw joint clinching, sore teeth, and itching jaw muscles.

Another example of referred pain is cavernous sinus thrombosis, very rarely caused by an untreated dental issue. Cavernous sinus thrombosis is a life-threatening blood clot within a brain space called a cavernous sinus right behind your eyes. It forms when an infection from your head or facial area gets to the brain. The condition causes a severe headache to your forehead or behind the eyes. Other symptoms of cavernous sinus thrombosis are high fever, eyelid swelling, weak eye movements, proptosis (eyeball protrusion).

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder 

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) is another cause of toothache and migraine. Patients with TMJ have problems in the jaw joint adjacent to the ear and surrounding muscles. This modified ball and socket joint link your upper and lower jaw. It primarily moves your lower jaw in three dimensions: back, forward, and sideways.

TMJ pain can significantly result from a bad bite when your teeth are misaligned, missing, sore, or loose. When your bite is inappropriate, your jaw muscles may have to work harder to bring the upper and lower teeth to proper alignment. When this happens enough, your jaw starts feeling pain, and you might experience problems with swallowing or closing your mouth. 

Headaches caused by TMJ spread from ear regions towards the neck, jaws, and temples. Their probable triggers are jaw movements. When you have TMJ, you might feel as though your jaw clicks and pops. Your jaw might even get stuck momentarily. Typical TMJ symptoms are tender jaw muscles, severe migraines, clicking or popping sounds, earaches, and toothaches. If you suffer TMJ, visit your dentist for diagnosis and solutions. When you minimize symptoms resulting in muscle tension, you alleviate the corresponding headache. Another simple way to solve TMJ is to avoid excessive chewing (like gum chewing). Also, you can regularly indulge in exercises and attend to gum massages.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay can develop a bacterial infection, initiating a severe headache. The bacteria invades and damages the sensitive pulp chamber of your teeth, causing swelling, fever, and pain. This pain may feel like a typical headache yet results from an oral condition.

Also read about the Importance of Regular Dental Checkups

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