Dental Problems May Trigger Migraines

Dental Problems May Trigger Migraines

A migraine is no mere headache. Only migraine sufferers themselves truly understand how debilitating the condition is. If you also get migraines, then you’ll do anything to avoid a trigger.

Each migraine sufferer has their unique triggers. Yours may be connected to strong smells, bright lights, or high stress levels. But did you know that your teeth could also trigger a painful migraine episode?

Toothaches and Migraine

A toothache can cause a headache for just about anyone, but it’s so much worse for migraine sufferers. The inflammation, swelling, and discomfort that comes from a cracked, decayed, or abscessed tooth can trigger a migraine that lasts for hours or even days.

Sometimes, migraines sufferers mistake a toothache for just another symptom of their migraine. The opposite is also true; some patients have been treated for mysterious toothaches that ended up being a kind of migraine pain.

Take a proactive approach. Treat tooth pain before it has the chance to worsen or trigger a migraine. Get a suspicious tooth examined as soon as possible. Head off problems before they start by having preventative treatments to keep your teeth healthy.

Migraine Caused by TMJ

You have two temporomandibular joints (collectively called the TMJ) located on either side of your head right in front of each ear. They’re complex joints with lots of moving parts that you use constantly to speak, yawn, and chew. If you overwork these joints, you can cause inflammation in them which can trigger migraine.

Subconscious teeth-grinding or teeth-clenching is a major contributor to jaw pain and migraine. This habit tightens cheek muscles and puts a strain on the TMJ. Grinding can also cause sore tooth roots, worn or cracked enamel, loosened dental restorations, and tooth sensitivity, all of which could trigger migraine.

The key is to keep your jaw relaxed to avoid migraine. Take small bites of food, practice relaxation techniques, avoid frequent gum chewing, and use dental devices that prevent excessive jaw strain.

Prevent Migraines at the Dental Office

You might dread your six-month dental checkup and cleaning since the dental office is full of migraine-triggering stimuli.

Tacoma general dentist Dr. Duke Bui recommends the following tips to keep your appointments comfortable:

  • Wear an eye mask or dark-tinted sunglasses to block out glare and bright lights

  • Bring ear plugs or ear buds to play soothing music to block out harsh noises

  • Dress in warm layers

  • Schedule appointments for early in the day

  • Support your head with a small comfortable neck pillow

  • Use a dab of Vicks or an essential oil under your nose to distract you from nauseating odors

How Migraines Affect Your Oral Health

If you regularly suffer from migraines, then your teeth suffer, too.

Frequent vomiting due to migraine can lead to enamel erosion. This, in turn, makes teeth prone to sensitivity and decay.

Migraine can make you far too miserable to tend to your normal hygiene routine. When plagued by a lengthy attack, you might even go a couple days at a time without brushing your teeth.

Migraine medications can cause dry mouth that leads to a host of oral health issues such as gum disease. Migraine sufferers are already at an increased risk for heart disease. Contracting a gum infection can worsen that risk.

Get professional help with managing your oral health despite suffering from migraines. The dental team at Duke Bui, DDS, PS – Family Dentistry has the tips and treatments you need to make sure your teeth stay healthy.

Don’t let migraine ruin your smile! And don’t let dental woes become triggers for migraine. Call Dr. Bui today to schedule a relaxed consultation to learn how you can keep your smile beautiful, healthy, and comfortable.

Dental Care for Cancer Patients Before, During, and After Treatment

Dental Care for Cancer Patients Before, During, and After Treatment

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), some 40% of cancer patients receiving treatment are at risk for oral health problems.

A cancer diagnosis and the subsequent treatment can force oral hygiene and dental treatment to the bottom of the list of priorities.

But the mouth is particularly prone to the effects of radiation and chemotherapy. If the cancer is in the head-neck, then the impact of treatment can be even more intense.

Dentists urge people with cancer to pay special attention to their mouths at critical points during treatment.

Have you recently been diagnosed with cancer? Here’s what you need to know to keep your smile healthy.

What to Do Before Starting Cancer Treatment

Cancer patients should aim to get their teeth and gums as healthy as possible before starting treatment. If you prepare well beforehand, you’ll likely be in a better position to tolerate treatment. It can be much worse if your mouth is unhealthy.

A strong foundation of oral health reduces your chances of treatment complications such as:

●    Dry mouth
●    Sensitive teeth
●    Sore tongue, gums, and other oral tissues
●    Increased risk of cavities

Plan a visit to the dental office for a checkup at least one month before you start treatment.

Your Tacoma dentist will take x-rays and records to carefully document the condition of your mouth. If you need any treatment, you should get it taken care of right away. This will eliminate the need for any uncomfortable or potentially dangerous dental procedures during cancer treatment. You’ll also want plenty of time to recover before you start chemotherapy or radiation.

Depending on your needs, your dentist may recommend fillings, crowns, extractions, or denture adjustments.

This first checkup is also your opportunity to get a thorough dental cleaning and some tailored advice for taking care of your mouth during cancer treatment.

Dental Care During Cancer Treatment

While undergoing treatment for cancer, you mouth will be highly prone to bleeding, infection, inflammation, and injury. Maintaining good oral hygiene may not be easy, but the more you can do, the more comfortable your mouth will be.

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently multiple times a day. Try to brush after every meal and right before going to bed. Brush with a fluoride toothpaste. Your tooth enamel needs lots of fluoride to resist decay. Floss as many teeth as you can daily but skip areas that are irritated from cancer therapy.

Supplement your oral hygiene routine with an alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash. A dentist can even recommend a therapeutic one to use during cancer treatment.

To reduce debris and bacteria throughout the day, rinse with a mixture of one teaspoon of baking soda, one teaspoon of salt, and one quart of warm water. This rinse can cleanse and soothe oral tissues while neutralizing acids from your food.

If dry mouth is causing you a lot of discomfort, sip on water and chew on some sugar-free gum or candies.

Cancer treatment can also cause oral mucositis, a painful inflammation of mouth tissues. If your mouth is burning and sensitive, avoid the following:

●    Hot foods and drinks
●    Tobacco and alcohol
●    Spicy foods
●    Hard crunchy foods

Visit a Tacoma dentist as often as you can during cancer treatment. This will ensure that your teeth stay clean and problem-free. The dentist can also give you recommendations to suit your needs at that time and diagnose infections.

Professional fluoride treatments could be your key to keeping your teeth safe throughout the course of cancer treatment. Your dentist can provide those for you, as well.

Dental Care After Finishing Cancer Treatment

The goal of dental care during cancer treatment is to keep your mouth comfortable and healthy. You certainly don’t need any dental problems on top of what you’re currently struggling with.

Once your treatment is done, follow up with the dentist to see if there are any needed repairs. You may have to come in for frequent three-month visits to stabilize your oral health.

With the battle behind you, you may want to celebrate by treating yourself to a little smile makeover. Kicking cancer is a great reason to show off your smile!

The team at Duke Bui, DDS, PS – Family Dentistry  wishes you (or your loved one) all the best in the fight against cancer. Let us help you make the treatment a success by taking care of your dental needs every step of the way.

Call us today for more details.

Help! My Baby is Teething

Help! My Baby is Teething

It’s that wonderful time in babyhood when both parent and child are driven to insanity by the pain: teething.

You may have some concerns about the topic if your child has yet to reach that stage. Here’s what you need to know.

When Does Teething Start?

The first teeth (usually the bottom front two teeth) show up around six months of age. If your baby was born premature, then the first teeth might take more than a year to show up. Genetics also play a role – if a baby’s parents had delayed smile development then chances are good that they will, too.

Some babies get their first teeth as early as three months. There isn’t a set time for these things, but if you’re worried about your child being too early or too late, see a dentist.

The teething process tends to happen gradually until your child gets their full set of baby teeth around age two.

Teething Woes for Baby

Babies can’t tell us that they have teeth coming in. They don’t understand it, themselves! All they know is that their gums are not comfortable.

Every baby expresses their discomfort in different ways. A few lucky babies don’t seem bothered by the process, at all. But most babies display one or more of the following symptoms:

●    Drooling
●    Chewing on whatever they find
●    Irritability
●    Swollen gums
●    Difficulty sleeping
●    Rubbing at their face or ears

You need to know that colds, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea are not symptoms of teething, despite what many parents believe. If your child becomes seriously ill, take them to see a doctor instead of waiting for the illness to pass under the belief it’s caused by teething – it’s not.

No Medication! Warns the FDA

In the past, parents have reached for teething products in full faith that they provide relief for sore gums.

But in a recent FDA warning, parents were warned to stay away from benzocaine-containing teething products. Benzocaine can cause a rare but serious condition called methemoglobinemia. That’s a condition where the blood cannot successfully deliver oxygen to body tissues.

While illness from benzocaine use is very rare, infants tend to be at higher risk for complications than adults. Additionally, such teething products aren’t considered that effective since a topical product immediately washes away with saliva.

Benzocaine-based teething products just don’t have enough benefit to justify the risk.

What You Can Do to Relieve Teething Pain

The best thing for your baby’s sore gums happens to be completely safe and free – your finger!

Rubbing baby’s gums with a clean finger is usually the safest and most soothing way to get him or her some relief. Your child may also enjoy frozen teething rings, but be careful when choosing one as some can be dangerously hard. You don’t want your child scratching up their gums and adding to their discomfort.

Another good chewing alternative is to soak a clean washcloth in clean water, wring it out thoroughly, and put it in the freezer. Your child will love sucking and chewing on the chilly soft fabric.

Pediatric Dental Checkups in Tacoma, WA

Your child should have his or her very first dental appointment by the time their first tooth arrives. Even if your baby still hasn’t gotten any teeth by the time they reach a year old they still need to have an appointment.

Your baby’s appointment is the perfect opportunity for a family dentist like Dr. Duke Bui to check for the signs of healthy smile development. As the parent you’ll learn what potential problems to look out for and get more tips on maintaining safe oral hygiene for your child.

What other questions do you have about your baby’s oral health?

Call Duke N. Bui, DDS, PS – Family Dentistry today to plan a visit.