With braces, it’s normal to experience some short-term tooth sensitivity or temporary discomfort. Like when you first get them on or when you’ve just had an adjustment. But if your teeth or jaws are feeling sore for a longer period of time, the culprit is most likely not your braces. Instead, allergies or sinus problems could be why your teeth hurt.
Really? Can allergies really cause sore teeth? Simply put, yes. We’re all too familiar with seasonal allergies and hay fever caused by tree and grass pollen. And all that sneezing, the runny nose, and sinus pressure can actually affect how your teeth feel. Allergies to pet dander can also cause sore teeth as well as allergies to dust and mold. Over the years, your Henderson, NV orthodontist Dr. Brady Okuda has seen how allergies can cause sore teeth. We’ve had patients come to us concerned about what feels like braces pain but it turns out, it’s actually tooth pain related to allergies.
Sinuses and Teeth
So how can allergies make your teeth hurt? It all comes down to your sinuses. Your sinus cavity sits behind your eyes, cheekbones and forehead, close to your upper jaw and upper teeth. It’s made up of four pairs of air-filled spaces that moisten and warm the air you breathe in. Your sinuses also have mucus that filters dust and particles so that these irritants don’t get into your lungs.
But when your sinuses become irritated from allergies to pollen, pet dander, mold, or dust, the tissue that lines the sinus cavity gets blocked by fluid and gets inflamed. You can sometimes end up feeling the congestion and sinus pressure in your upper back teeth; this soreness can feel like prolonged braces pain — but it isn’t!
Can Allergies Make Your Bottom Teeth Hurt?
Of the four pairs of sinuses, the sinus pressure you feel in your teeth is typically from the maxillary sinuses that sit behind your cheekbones. That’s why you might first notice the effects of sinus pressure in your molars — their roots are closest to the maxillary sinuses. But if you have really bad allergies and sinus congestion, the pressure can also make your bottom teeth hurt.
Sinus pressure in teeth can also look like hypersensitivity in your teeth to cold or hot foods and drinks, or pain when you’re chewing. And the level of pain might run from a dull discomfort to a throbbing ache.
How Do I Know It’s Allergies and Not Braces Pain?
One tell-tale sign that allergies are making your teeth hurt (and not braces) is that if you jump up and down or bend over, the pain might worsen.This is because when you move, sinus pressure can shift and you can feel it more in your teeth. With braces pain, you’d feel the same sensation however you’re positioned. It’s like when your nose is congested on one side but when you lie down or tilt your head on the other side, the congestion moves.
Now, it goes without saying that getting a professional diagnosis is the best way to find out exactly what’s causing your teeth to hurt. Your dentist or an orthodontist like Dr. Okuda can determine if allergies are causing sinus pain in your teeth or if you’re experiencing braces pain.They also can tell you if you have symptoms of tooth decay or gum disease which can also cause pain or discomfort in your teeth.
How to Prevent Tooth Pain from Allergies
We know it’s not always possible, but you can take some preventative steps to reducing allergies, sinus pressure, and related tooth pain:
- Limit your time outdoors on high-pollen days
- Stay away from dogs and cats, especially indoors
- Ensure your house is mold-free
- Vacuum and dust your house often to reduce mold, dust, and other indoor allergens
- Wash and change bed linens often
How Do You Relieve Sinus Pressure In Your Teeth?
Once you know for certain it’s allergies causing your teeth to hurt, relieving your sinus pressure is top-of-mind for reducing the ache in your teeth. Over-the-counter allergy medications are the typical go-to treatment for relieving allergy symptoms; your doctor can give you a run down on the different antihistamines and which might work best for your allergies. Nasal sprays and decongestants are also often on the list of suggestions for relieving the sinus pressure that can lead to tooth pain.
You can also try some at-home remedies to soothe the sinus pain you feel in your teeth:
- Inhaling steam from a humidifier can help moisten dry sinuses and drain sinus congestion
- Spraying your nose with drugstore saline spray or homemade saline spray
- Rinsing with a neti pot
- Drinking plenty of water
- Pressing an ice pack to your cheek to numb sore gums and teeth
- Exercising to increase blood circulation and relieves congestion
- Sitting up if you’re lying down to help drain sinuses
And of course, we at Okuda Orthodontics recommend being gentle on your teeth, always. Choose soft foods and soothing drinks that are teeth- and braces-friendly: soups are easy on sensitive teeth and they don’t have hard bits that can damage braces or get stuck. Plus, steam from hot broth can clear sinuses! Cold foods like smoothies soothe the pain in your mouth without the need to chew.
Toothbrushes for Braces and Other Tips for Gentle, Effective Oral Hygiene
Now that you’ve got tooth-relieving medication, at-home care, and food choices dialed-in, it’s time to consider your oral hygiene. Practicing good oral hygiene can help teeth feel better, too. Dr. Okuda and his team always suggest starting with a soft-bristled toothbrush for those with braces.
Other tips for gentle care when allergies make your teeth hurt? As an alternative to that trusty, soft-bristled toothbrush, for braces-wearers, you can get a great clean from dental supplies like an electric toothbrush or a Waterpik. A warm, salt-water rinse is relieving, or try a gum massage where your teeth hurt. Simply use a clean finger to gently rub your gums in a circular motion while being mindful of your braces until your gums and teeth feel more relaxed.
At Okuda Orthodontics we want all our patients to experience comfortable care on their way to their dream smile. So if you’ve got braces and have allergies that might be causing your teeth to hurt, please let us know. We want to help! Book an appointment today at our family-friendly, welcoming Henderson, NV office.