My mother is in her 80s and absolutely hates going to the doctor and dentist. The other day when I went by to see her, she was chewing weirdly. When I asked her about it she said her tooth has been hurting. She said the pain comes and goes and that it makes her chest hurt sometimes. I went into a mild panic and she got snippy and told me to stop worrying that her chest hurts every time her tooth hurts and it is nothing. Ignoring the fact that I need to get her to see a dentist for her tooth, is chest pain a normal side effect of a toothache?
Both Toothaches and Chest Pain Can Indicate a Heart Attack
I would like you to take your mother to the doctor right away. Chest pain should always be investigated. Although tooth pain is not one of the more common signs of a heart attack, it does occur in about 10% of cases. Rather than localized, this type of tooth pain seems to be more across the entirety of the jaw, though it often starts in the lower left.
Some additional signs of a heart attack are:
- A squeezing feeling in your chest and/or arms
- Nausea, heartburn, stomach pains
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness and Lightheadedness
- Cold sweats
Dental Health and Cardiovascular Health are Linked
Your mother implied that she has had several toothaches, which makes me wonder about her oral health. When you take her to the dentist, have him look at her gum health. People with periodontal disease are more likely to suffer a heart attack or diabetes. Getting her heart checked is priority one. Then, if that is clear, then I’d like you to schedule a dental appointment for her as soon as possible. You should be able to get an emergency dental appointment.
If Dental Anxiety Keeps Her Away
You mentioned that your mother does not like doctors and dentists. It is possible that she, like many people, suffers from dental anxiety. If that is the case, then having her see a sedation dentist will make her much more likely to agree to regular treatments. It will enable her to have pain-free/anxiety-free dental appointments.
This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.