Summer Sniffles and Your Smile

woman blowing her nose

Seasonal allergies are a drag, and they certainly can throw a wrench in our picnic plans or evening walks.

When we have an allergy to pollen in the air, that means our immune system is reacting inappropriately, and it generally responds with one of its time-tested defense mechanisms: inflammation. Inflammation does a great job of killing invaders, but in the case of allergies, it does more harm than good. Besides sneezing and runny eyes, allergies can have a big dental impact.

Anatomy is the key

You may think that what’s going on in your nose and eyes should have nothing to do with your mouth; after all they’re all different parts of your face, right? Well, the key is that they are all parts of your face, and that makes them all connected– your brain may be big, but your head is a pretty small place.

Your face has several sinuses, or pockets in your facial bones, that play a role in immunity and become inflamed when your body has an inflammatory reaction. One of these sinuses– named, appropriately, the maxillary sinus– is located in the maxillary bone in your jaw, directly above your upper molars.

A tight space

When your sinuses get inflamed, there’s nowhere for them to go– hence the stuffy, full feeling we get, not to mention sinus headaches and sometimes dizziness. Well, your teeth can’t move either, and those inflamed sinuses can press on the nerves around your back molars. The impinged nerves then send pain signals to your brain.

Sinus-related dental pain can be sharp and sudden, or dull and achey. It often results in a sensitivity to temperatures and can even make chewing difficult. Sometimes theses symptoms come on suddenly, and patients may be afraid that they have a serious dental problem. If this happens, speak with the friendly and professional staff at Clackamas Smiles.

The solution?

Sinus related dental pain can be relieved by decreasing the pressure in your sinuses. Cold and allergy medications containing antihistamines are the first option to consider in relieving dental discomfort.

Unfortunately, many of us already know we have sinus inflammation because our head feels uncomfortable– and we’re already trying to fix the problem, but Claritin isn’t working for this season’s crop of pollen. Again, when this happens, call your Clackamas dentist for assistance.

More questions about seasonal allergies and your dental health?

Ask us at your next appointment!

Photo Credit: Danny Perez Photography via Compfight cc