Our Blog

Discerning the Difference Between Dental & Non-Dental Toothaches

irvine dentist open on saturdaysWhenever you experience a toothache or tooth pain, the tooth is usually the source of the pain. But in a small percentage of cases, however, the site of tooth pain is not the specific source. Whether tooth pain originates in a tooth or not, the pain still feels like a toothache; however, it can be a little difficult to determine the cause of non-dental pain.
What Patients Will Typically Experience
Tooth pain from a non-dental issue can present itself in a number of ways, says Dr. Torbati. In some cases, it can be in the form of a low-grade, bothersome ache, or an excruciating pain that can be described as sharp, shooting, or throbbing. The pain can be chronic or come and go.
Non-dental pain is usually experienced in the teeth or surrounding areas such as the soft tissue or bone. Since it is not tied to any specific tooth, the pain can, unexpectedly, shift from one tooth to another or from one side of the mouth to the other.
The pain is very similar to a normal toothache, causing many patients to undergo dental treatments in several teeth before the diagnosis is done. It is critical that you approach tooth pain with caution to avoid performing irreversible procedures, such as extraction or root canal before the cause has been properly diagnosed.
Potential Causes of Tooth Pain
Cavities are the primary causes of dental related toothaches. A cavity causes tooth enamel to wear off, exposing the dentin, which is more sensitive to heat, cold, and other stimuli. Dental toothaches can also be caused by any dental problem, such as gum problems or periodontal disease that causes pain and inflammation in the pulp section and supporting soft and hard tissues. Likely causes of persistent tooth pain include:
● Cracked tooth or incomplete tooth fracture
● Periodontal ligament strain caused by clenching, trauma, or bite problems
For such dental pain, the dentist can treat the tooth, gums, or both, and the tooth pain will varnish after the treatment.
Tooth pain of a non-dental origin, on the other hand, has many possible causes. To determine the exact source of pain, the dentist must consider several conditions, including those caused by dental problems but remain unnoticed, as well as conditions caused by non-dental problems. Likely problems include:
Referred muscle or myofascial pain – dull, aching muscles with localized tender spots that refer pain to other structures, like the teeth
● Trigeminal neuralgia – condition affecting the nerve providing sensation to the teeth and face
● Neuropathic pain – damage to nerves transmitting sensation
● Referral headache pain – headaches caused by changes in blood vessels and nerves of the head
● Cardiac toothache – some heart problems, such as acute myocardial infarction or angina pectoris, refer pain to the arm, jaw, and shoulder
● Sinus toothache – issues in the maxillary sinuses and/or paranasal mucosa refer pain to upper teeth
To accurately determine the source of tooth pain and treat it properly, you should visit your dentist to perform the necessary diagnostic tests.
irvine dentist open on saturdaysIf you are ever experiencing an emergency then you should contact your dentist as soon as possible. Dr. Rahbar is an Irvine dentist open on Saturdays and weekends to address emergencies that happen unexpectedly. If a dental emergency occurs, try to stay calm throughout, save anything that may have fallen out, and schedule an appointment as early as possible.

This entry was posted in Educational and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.