Can A Migraine And Tooth Pain Be Related?

February 21, 2023 - By Bruce Michaelson
Can A Migraine And Tooth Pain Be Related?

Although many use the words headache and migraine interchangeably, it is not exactly the same. Headaches are often short-lived, whereas migraines can be excruciating and debilitating and linger on for long periods of time. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, approximately one billion people across the globe suffer from migraine.

While many factors can trigger this condition, they can actually have something to do with your tooth pain. Yes, it’s true that tooth pains can sometimes cause migraines. According to dental experts, here are some tooth conditions that strongly correlate with migraine.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

This is a condition that occurs when the modified ball and socket joint connecting your upper and lower jaw doesn’t function correctly. Our joint’s main purpose is to allow the lower jaw to move in three directions: forward, backward, and side-to-side. Those with TMJ can experience a problem engaging in these movements and may feel as though the jaw clicks and pops or as if it becomes momentarily stuck. Some common TMJ symptoms include clicking or popping sounds, tender jaw muscles, earaches, toothaches, headaches, and migraines.

Your dentist will be able to diagnose this condition and treat you accordingly. Reducing pain associated with TMJ to a great extent can help you alleviate the accompanying migraine you have.

Teeth Grinding and Clenching

Also known as Bruxism, this is the act of grinding or clenching the teeth. Although many experience teeth grinding or clenching while asleep, some may be subject to this habit throughout the day.

This condition can be caused by stress, misaligned teeth, and any other nerve or muscle disease in the face. One of the most common symptoms of bruxism includes migraines, morning headaches, grinding sounds at night, tight jaw muscles, and cracked or damaged teeth, causing a toothache.

In your routine visit, your dentist or dental hygienist will be able to diagnose this condition and recommend proper treatment. It is usually done by fixing your alignment or fitting you for an anti-grinding mouthguard. Stress-related bruxism can be managed with professional counseling, relaxation techniques, or prescription medication.


If you develop frequent toothache for undiagnosed reasons, then the chances of developing a migraine are very high. On the flip side, sometimes migraines can also cause toothache or any other dental pain. This is because the nerve injury is related to both conditions.

If you suspect the migraine is rooted in a cavity or gum issue, then a periodontist can help. But if they find no tooth decay or gum disease, they will most likely refer you to a neurologist to determine if you have a migraine.

To ease symptoms of migraine, you might try:

  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, can help with the first signs of a migraine attack.

  • Try lying or sleeping in a darkened room or eating something

  • If you have been given any prescription medications for migraine, take them

  • Consider receiving acupuncture, which is commonly used in Chinese medicine to treat pain

  • Give a try at transcranial magnetic stimulation- but they should be administered by healthcare professionals

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