Dental Work and Tinnitus: Here’s What You Need to Know

However, there is a lot you can do to properly care for your teeth. Perhaps the most important part is that visit to the dentist that you do every six months.

You can’t argue with the fact that going to the dentist is necessary and we should all do it. Sometimes there is simply no other option. Fillings, cleanings, root canals, crowns, and everything in between are things that only dentists can do for you. Now, let’s keep in mind that you suffer from an annoying and downright debilitating condition known as tinnitus, and it can make the situation that much more difficult.

There are some things related to dentistry and the mouth that can cause tinnitus symptoms or make existing symptoms worse. We’re not saying you shouldn’t go to the dentist if you have tinnitus, but there are a few things to keep in mind. So in relation to dental work and tinnitus, this is 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 use of the bur. There is no way to put a filling or make a root canal without the drill. The problem is that the drill creates a loud, high-pitched noise, which is not only annoying, but can seriously damage your hearing.

The bad part about drills is that wearing ear protection won’t really help. Yes, you can plug your ears all you want, but the fact is, the loud piercing noise doesn’t take its toll through your ear canal; creates sounds and vibrations in the jaw bones that then reach the ears. Therefore, the damage to your ears is being done inside your head, not from the outside.

So wearing earplugs won’t do you any good here. The best recommendation we can give you is to tell your dentist to drill in short bursts rather than one long style. This will minimize the damage done to your cochlea; It is not perfect, but it is better than the alternative. Piercing does not cause tinnitus, but it can make existing symptoms worse.

Fillings and Tinnitus

There is also a link between tinnitus and fillings, those ugly things that dentists put on teeth to get rid of cavities. Here we are talking specifically about amalgam fillings, which are made of silver and mercury. You might think they are made primarily of silver, but in fact, amalgam fillings contain much more mercury than silver.

The obvious problem here is mercury, something that has been shown to cause neurological problems, mercury poisoning, and of course, death. Usually a fill or two isn’t a big deal, but if you have more than that in your mouth, it may be a legitimate cause of worsening tinnitus symptoms. People with multiple mercury fillings in their mouth have been shown to absorb more mercury per day on average than the World Health Organization considers acceptable.

In other words, these fillings can cause tinnitus or just worsen existing symptoms, which is due to the high level of mercury in your body. We’re not 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 option is to request composite resin fillings, something we recommend regardless of tinnitus.

Clench your jaw

The technical term for jaw clenching is bruxism, and it is something else that can cause tinnitus symptoms and make existing symptoms increase in severity. Jaw clenching can have serious effects on nerves.

Seeing that 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 your fists usually have quite simple solutions. At the same time, there are special treatments, such as a simple mouth guard, that can reduce the severity and occurrence of your tightening.

Dentistry and tinnitus: other causes

There are some other dental procedures that can cause or worsen tinnitus symptoms.

• Ultrasonic plaque removal

• Removal of impacted wisdom teeth


• Abscesses in the mouth

Dentists and tinnitus

Not surprisingly, a ridiculously high number of the world’s dentists have been shown to suffer from some form of hearing loss along with tinnitus. This is related to the dental drill we just talked about. High-speed dental drills have been shown to cause or worsen tinnitus symptoms in the overwhelming majority of dentists who use them on a daily basis.

A small study showed that dentists suffer from tinnitus more than twice as much as normal doctors. It is estimated that a very high percentage of dentists, between 30% and 100%, suffer or will suffer from some type of tinnitus later in their careers. It is said that working with a dental drill all day is equivalent to having your head next to a running gasoline lawn mower.

The bottom line is that musicians and people who operate heavy machinery are not the only ones 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.


When it comes to dentistry and tinnitus, things are a bit tricky. On the one hand, dental work can make the problem worse, but on the other hand, dental work is usually a necessary thing.

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