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Dentists are one of the few professionals that people regularly keep their appointments with. Keeping your teeth clean is vital to the rest of your health, largely because they impact how you eat. But with all the x-rays dentists take of your face, they are watching more than just your teeth. Your dentist may refer you to an ear, nose, and throat doctor for the following conditions.
If you head to your dentist complaining of jaw pain, they will, of course, check out your teeth. However, more than likely, the issue is with your sinuses. The location of the sinus cavities is next to the roots of your top teeth. So, when sinus pressure hits, it feels like it’s your teeth but it’s not. Another reason the dentist may suggest you head to an ENT for a sinus check-up is bad breath. If they can see no dental reason for it, bad breath may be caused by mucus produced during sinusitis.
TMJ is temporo mandibular joint. A TMJ disorder means that a patient is experiencing pain in the joint where the lower jaw attaches to the skull. If there is no dental reason for pain in that area, a dentist may recommend that the patient see an ENT for a CT scan or MRI to check for bone and joint problems. Symptoms of TMJ disorder can be treated at home by avoiding tough foods and doing jaw exercises. In more severe cases, an ENT would need to prescribe pain killers and corticosteroids to reduce swelling. Extreme cases would require surgery.
Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
If a dentist sees enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids in a child, he may not recommend a trip to the ENT right away, as this can be caused by many cold viruses. However, when a dentist knows that the patient often speaks with a nasally voice and also breathes out of their mouth, they may recommend a consultation. For children, it’s especially important to have the tonsils checked by an ENT with these conditions because if untreated, it can affect proper facial and jaw development.
Seeing the dentist regularly is not only important for your teeth, it’s important for your overall health. Trust your dentist and schedule an appointment for a consultation with an ear, nose and throat doctor if he recommends it.