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Pollen-Induced Allergies Pack a Painful Punch

It may be just local Portland lore, but everyone seems to agree that this is one of the worst allergy seasons in years. Each time one plant stops throwing its pollen into the air, two more decide it’s time to join in, and Allegra is flying off the shelves.

While most people associate water-y eyes and congestion as seasonal allergies’ main pain points, dental pain is a surprisingly common side effect. How does this happen?

The secret of the sinuses

People often describe their sinus pain related to colds and allergies, but knowing exactly what the sinuses are– and where they are– helps explain everything. Your sinuses are pockets within your facial bones that play a critical role in immunity and defense of the body. We all have several, and they’re named for the bones they reside in or near: maxillary, frontal, etc.

The maxillary sinuses reside just above our upper molars.

When pollen strikes

Allergy sufferers have an unfortunate immune response to pollen– inflammation. When the sinuses become inflamed and filled with excess mucous, they create sinus “pressure” and headaches. This pressure impacts teeth as well.

Because their location is just above the upper molars, maxillary sinuses have the potential to press on key dental nerves when they become inflamed. Nothing is wrong with your teeth, but the impinged nerve is sending pain signals to your brain anyway– and you certainly feel them!

Sinus-related tooth discomfort can be sharp and sudden, or a dull ache. Sufferers may experience extreme sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, or find chewing difficult or even painful.

What to do

If you are experiencing allergy-related dental pain, the best way to combat it is to reduce inflammation– that’s what’s causing all the trouble, and chances are, you’re already trying to do this with your favorite allergy med. Cold compresses, tea, and rest are other helpful measures to ease seasonal related dental pain, and often patients report improved symptoms simply from staying inside, away from the source of pollen!

If you are ever experiencing prolonged, unrelenting discomfort or your dental pain is compromising your ability to eat, sleep, or work, please call us. City Dental is your resource for all dental issues– both routine, and out of the ordinary.

A word about allergy medications

Allergy medications are certainly a boon during these troubled times of frequent pollen attacks, but they can sometimes come with an unwelcome side effect: dry mouth. Dry mouth is one of the biggest risk factors for cavities, halitosis, and gingivitis, because it reduces the healing and cleaning powers of saliva.

Check the list of side effects on your allergy medication of choice, and if you are experiencing dry mouth, be sure to drink extra fluids and contact your downtown Portland dentist if this is a persistent problem.

More questions about seasonal allergies?

Contact us today for help, and be sure to schedule your next appointment with us!

Photo Credit: photomason via Compfight cc

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