When it comes to our teeth, there is nothing more important than taking good care of them. Unless you want a mouth full of fake teeth by the time you are 40, you need to brush, floss, rinse, and do it on a regular basis. However, there is only so much that you can do to take proper care of your teeth. Perhaps the most important part is that trip to the dentist that you take every six months.
There is no arguing with the fact that going to the dentist is necessary and we all should do it. Sometimes there’s just no other option. Fillings, cleanings, root canals, crowns, and everything in between are all things that only dentists can do for you. Now, let’s take into account that you suffer from an annoying and downright debilitating disease known as tinnitus, and it can make the situation a whole lot more difficult.
There are some things related to dentistry and your mouth that can cause tinnitus symptoms or make existing symptoms worse. Often taking tinnitus supplements or eating healthier food to help with your ear and oral health could make a difference. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t go to the dentist if you have tinnitus, but there are some things that you need to be aware of. So, in relation to dental work and tinnitus, here’s what you need to know.
Dental Drills and Tinnitus
One of the biggest problems for tinnitus sufferers when it comes to dental work is the drill. Many procedures in dentistry require the drill to be used. There is no way to put in a filling or doing a root canal without the drill. The problem is that the drill creates a loud and high-pitched noise, which is not only annoying, but can do serious damage to your hearing.
The bad part about the drills is that wearing ear protection will not really help. Yes, you can plug your ears all you want, but the fact is that the loud drilling noise does not take its toll through your ear canal; it creates sound and vibrations in your jaw bones which then go all the way up to your ears. Therefore, the damage to your ears is being caused within your head, not from the outside.
So, wearing earplugs won’t do you any good here. The best recommendation that we can give is to tell your dentist to drill in short bursts instead of in a prolonged style. This will minimize the damage caused to your cochlea; it’s not perfect, but it is better than the alternative. The drilling doesn’t cause tinnitus, but it can make existing symptoms much worse.
Fillings and Tinnitus
There is also a link between tinnitus and fillings – those ugly things which dentists put in your teeth to get rid of cavities. Here we are talking specifically about amalgam fillings, which are made of silver and mercury. You might think that they are made mostly of silver, but in fact, amalgam fillings contain a lot more mercury than silver.
The obvious problem here is the mercury, something which is shown to cause neurological issues, mercury poisoning, and of course death. A filling or two is usually not a big deal, but if you have more than that in your mouth, it can be a legitimate cause of your worsening tinnitus symptoms. It has been shown that people with multiple mercury fillings in their mouths absorb on average more mercury per day than the World Health Organization deems acceptable.
In other words, these fillings can cause tinnitus or just make existing symptoms worse, which is due to the high level of mercury in your body. We aren’t going to get into the exact science of things, but the bottom line is that mercury-based fillings can have an impact on tinnitus. Your best bet is to ask for composite resin fillings, something which we would recommend regardless of tinnitus.
The technical term given to jaw clenching is bruxism, and it is yet another thing that can cause tinnitus symptoms and cause existing symptoms to increase in severity. The clenching of the jaw can have serious effects on your nerves.
Seeing as everything in your head is connected in one way or another, constantly clenching your jaw can affect the nerves in your ears. This is one of the less serious things, because the causes of clenching usually have pretty simple solutions. At the same time, there are special treatments, such as a simple mouth guard, which can reduce the severity and occurrence of your clenching.
Dentistry and Tinnitus – Other Causes
There are some other dental procedures which can cause or worsen tinnitus symptoms.
- Ultrasonic plaque removal
- Removal of impacted wisdom teeth
- Abscesses in the mouth
Dentists and Tinnitus
Not surprisingly, it is shown that a ridiculously high number of dentists in the word suffer from some kind of hearing loss in conjunction with tinnitus. This is related to the dental drill we just talked about above. High-speed dental drills have been shown to cause or worsen tinnitus symptoms in an overwhelming majority of dentists who use them daily. Often dentists will need to consult the help of the best hearing aids available to regain a somewhat normal hearing ability.
One small study showed that dental practitioners suffer from tinnitus more than twice as much as normal medical practitioners. It is estimated that a very high percentage of dentists, anywhere from 30% to 100% do suffer or will suffer from some form of tinnitus later in their careers. It is said that working with a dental drill all day is the equivalent of having your head beside a running gas-powered lawnmower.
The bottom line is that musicians and people who operate heavy machinery are not the only ones who are at risk of developing tinnitus due to their occupation. Therefore, most dental schools now require students to wear ear protection when working with dental drills.
How is Technology Changing Dentistry?
Technology is changing dentistry in several ways. Please refer to this article for more information: 5 Ways Technology is Changing Dentistry.
When it comes to dentistry and tinnitus, things are a little tricky. On one hand, dental work can make the problem worse, but on the other hand, dental work is usually a necessary thing.