When teeth hurt, it’s often because the tooth is damaged, or infected, or its roots and nerves are somehow exposed. This can happen due to a variety of issues, the most common of which include tooth damage, progressive tooth decay, and gum disease. Sometimes, however, the possible reasons for your toothache aren’t common ones. Today, we explore less common reasons why teeth ache (besides dental problems), and why they can fool you into thinking your tooth is damaged, or has a cavity.
If you have a sinus infection, the stuffy, runny nose, sneezing, and sinus pressure headaches can draw almost all of your attention. Sinuses are hollow chambers lined with soft tissues (mucosa) that swell and excrete excessive mucus when they’re infected. The largest sinus chambers are located near the roots of your upper teeth, and when infected, the sinus pressure can make your teeth hurt.
TMJ disorder (short for temporomandibular joint disorder) is a jaw dysfunction that comes in many forms, from a dislocated disk in the jaw’s joint’s to damage or inflammation in the joint and/or muscles. The dysfunction is often accompanied by bruxism, or teeth grinding, as the jaw’s muscles spasm and fight for a more comfortable position. Besides jaw discomfort, the repeated grinding and clenching can eventually cause your teeth to become sensitive.
Sudden Altitude Changes
You know the feeling you get in your ears when you rise and fall on a roller coaster, or as the airplane you’re on begins to ascend or descend? When your altitude changes, so does the air pressure around you, and if it happens to suddenly, your ears can “pop” as they adjust. The same phenomenon occurs with your teeth, but since their structures aren’t as pliable as your eardrums, they can ache until you’re fully acclimatized to the new altitude.