Tooth decay is a common problem that many face at some point in their lives. It takes various forms, like cavities, discoloration, and spots. If left untreated, decay leads to infection and even tooth loss. But did you know that cavities (tooth decay) can also cause headaches? Yes, you read that right. If you have recently spotted a black dot on your teeth along with episodic headaches, chances are that it is due to cavities. Let’s discuss the relationship between these two in detail.
Impact of Cavities in Mouth
It is not merely a problem for your pearly whites but has far-reaching effects on your overall health. Cavities can cause headaches, bite issues, and other health problems throughout your body.
What Are Dental Headaches and How Do They Happen?
So, how exactly are dental issues a culprit for your headaches?
- TMJ: A headache resulting from muscular tension in your face and jaw may be the reason for your discomfort. More often than not, your jaw muscles overcompensate for irregularities in your mouth, causing pain and soreness that spreads to your head.
- Cavities: Cavities, or dental caries, when left untreated, lead to throbbing headaches. This is because their presence serves as an entry pathway to triggers like cold food or beverages.
- Malocclusion: Another possible cause is malocclusion, or simply a “bad bite.” Be it a bad orthodontic job or inclined emergence of a wisdom tooth, it causes malocclusion. If your teeth don’t meet to form a smooth curve when you close your jaw, it leads to tension in jaw muscles and consequent headaches.
- Bruxism (Teeth Grinding): Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can develop in people of all ages, even babies. Grinding teeth continuously puts your jaw on a tough workout. If you wake up with a headache that goes down shortly after, it could be due to teeth grinding.
Treatment for Cavities and Associated Headache
The treatment depends on the extent of your issue:
If your teeth have developed cavities, some of the treatment options include a root canal, a filling, or a crown, depending on your cavity’s size. Both procedures begin with the use of a local anesthetic to numb the area. If a filling is required, dentists remove the decay with a drill and seal the area with an inert filler like porcelain, amalgam, composite resin, etc.
If you need a crown, the process will be done on two visits. Your dentist will first remove a layer of your tooth’s outer surface and create a mold of the tooth. Then, they will place a temporary crown on it while the permanent one is being made. Once done, the permanent crown will then be securely fixed in place using a dental adhesive or dental cement.
In Case of Advanced Tooth Decay
When tooth decay reaches the pulp present in the center of your tooth, a root canal treatment may be necessary. This procedure is more invasive as it involves removing the pulp and replacing the damaged tooth root with a root filling.
Remember, timely intervention and proper dental care can save you from both dental headaches and the need for more extensive treatments. If you want to learn more, contact our expert Dr. Jeevan Ghatnekar, a member of ADA, CDA, Academy of General Dentistry at Irvine Family & Implant Dentistry to provide you with top-notch services for your dental headaches. Our experienced staff can help you with your needs. To book a consultation, just give us a call at 949-552-1380.