I Got a Migraine From My Dental Cleaning
Last updated: September 2021
I suffer from chronic, intractable migraine and new daily persistent headache. I’ve dealt with these conditions for over nine years now, and I am pretty used to my environmental triggers. My worst is stormy weather, but I went to the dentist for a routine cleaning appointment the other day and was surprised to find another trigger as I sat in the chair. The bright lights they use are bad enough, but they never trigger an attack as I normally just close my eyes and let them do their work.
A new dentist
This time I was visiting a new dental office since our insurance had changed. It was nice and clean and seemed to have very up-to-date equipment. Now here’s where I had my issue that brought on the attack. The dental hygienist brought out a neat little device to clean my teeth after all her poking and prodding with the usual metal hook. The device was some sort of ultrasonic device. I likened it to an ultrasonic water pick. I guess the sound was used in conjunction with the water to blast the tarter off of teeth. It felt weird, to say the least, as I had never experienced this type of cleaning before.
Triggered by the high-pitched sound
The hygienist worked her way around my mouth, not knowing that certain sounds triggered my attacks. As she continued, I dealt with the excruciatingly high-pitched sound of the device as she cleaned my teeth. I was going to just suck up the discomfort as the sounds cut into my brain. Not every moment was agonizing so I had little breathers in-between the sharp sounds. I’d been accustomed to just pushing the pain and discomfort down and moving forward. This is what I intended to do for this cleaning. She moved quickly through my mouth, which was a good thing, but the sound had already started an attack.
Waiting for it to be over
I sat quietly in the dentist's chair as she finished my cleaning. I had to continue to deal with the bright lights as I waited for the dentist to come into the room and do his part of the visit. I kept my eyes closed. I could see the aura in my left eye. I knew I only had about thirty minutes or so before it would be gone, and the rest of the attack would follow. Luckily the dentist came right in and did his thing. I quickly scheduled my next appointment and left the office.
New migraine triggers are everywhere
I always try to have my abortive medications handy when I am away from home. I got my abortive (I take Nurtec ODT) and popped it into my mouth! I sat in my car for a few minutes while it dissolved, and then I left to go home. I was lucky and never got a full-blown attack that day. I guess you just never know when you will run into a new trigger. A dental visit had never bothered me in the past, but now I know better. I will call my dentist and see if they can clean my teeth the next time without using the ultrasonic device. If they can't I may just have to find another dental office.
Have others downplayed your migraine pain?