Are Your Teeth Causing Headaches?


Are your teeth causing headaches? If you been on the receiving end of a nagging dental headache, you know full well the discomfort that ensues when tooth pain radiates throughout the head and jaw. Learn more below about how and why your teeth may be the “root” cause of the pain and what you can do to prevent dental headaches from reoccurring.

You have some nerve.

Literally! One of the largest sensory nerves in the head – the trigeminal nerve – is responsible for transmitting sensations like pain from the face to the brain. It also helps control essential motor functions like chewing, biting, and swallowing while regulating blood flow inside the brain. Bottom line, its job is to help detect when a toothache is causing a headache by transmitting specific “cause and effect” signals. And your job is to respond to those signals accordingly!

Know the key signs.

Pain that radiates throughout the face can be hard to diagnosis. Some key signs that indicate a dental problem may be causing the headache are: feeling pain behind the eyes, experiencing a sore jaw, and ongoing popping of jaw joints. Many times, an obvious dental problem that has been left untreated can trigger the headache, such as a cracked tooth, exposed root, or long-term cavity. However, sometimes less obvious factors are at play…


When muscular tension builds up in the face and jaw, dental trouble can occur. In fact, roughly 80% of headaches stem from muscle tension and this tension presents itself in multiple ways. If we are feeling stressed, we may grind and clench our teeth, causing jaw tightening and pain and the wearing down of teeth. Over time, these habits can translate into pain and headaches. What can you do to alleviate dental-related stress headaches? Try techniques like yoga and meditation – especially before bedtime – to calm down and de-stress.

Achieve a better bite.

When your bite is out of balance, it’s not just your smile that’s at stake – you’re at greater risk for dental issues like TMJ and migraines. Dentists today have SO many tools at their disposal to correct your bite and repair cracking but early intervention is key. Correcting a “bad” bite will not only help you smile more confidently, but it can also prevent and eliminate dental headaches and overall discomfort.

Take action!

Sure, that toothache may initially present itself with only dull pain that you can handle. However, if the pain is persistent, don’t let it go! Your dentist can identify the appropriate fix (sometimes even non-invasively!) to alleviate your pain. For example, an unstable bite causing muscle strain and recurring headaches can be diagnosed and corrected. Cavities can be repaired quickly and abscessed teeth can be treated in a variety of ways. In addition to diagnosing and treating your immediate pain, your dentist can also provide tips on prevention. The key is to contact your dentist sooner rather than later with signs of discomfort to prevent dental headaches and other serious health issues from occurring. Of course, scheduling regular dental checkups can also keep your dental (and overall) health on track!

Now you know the signs. And you know you’re putting yourself at risk (and in discomfort!) if you let these symptoms go. Be sure to “head off” dental headaches by calling Ahwatukee dentist Janet Euzarraga to seek treatment ASAP if you are experiencing tooth pain or other ongoing conditions or concerns.