Seven years ago I had a root canal on a lower molar. A couple of weeks later I started getting pain that felt like it was the tooth aching. The root canal was redone several times, and then finally the tooth was extracted. That didn't end the pain, so I subsequently had my wisdom teeth out, the adjoining tooth out, a top tooth out and finally gum surgery because it was suspected a root tip may have been left behind. Since then I have still suffered pain, usually on and off, with sometimes months with no pain in between. This past year, however, the pain has been almost constant. The gums (I have no teeth there now) ache as if they're being squeezed with a clamp, and when it's most severe my lips on that side have a kind of burning/tingling feeling. As well the pain goes down that side of my neck and around the base of my skull. CT scans and MRIs show nothing wrong. Regular, over-the-counter pain relievers do not have any effect. The only thing that helps sometimes is a narcotic pain reliever which naturally I don't want to use too much of. We've also tried some antidepressants and amitriptylene, but they didn't seem to help and have annoying side effects. It doesn't seem to be the tmj joint as there's no pain opening my mouth or chewing (in fact, chewing seems to help). I also can't grind my teeth because there aren't any teeth there anymore. Any insights?
Hello Linda -
I am so sorry you have had such a nightmare with your tooth pain. I can only speak of my experience.
I had chronic tooth pain in my back upper right molar, which started after a bad filling. A dentist pulled the tooth, I still had pain. It turns out what I was experienceing was what they call "referred dental pain". After 13 dentists I was told I had TMD, see my joints did not pop, UNTIL the 13th dentist put me into a night guard, then my joint started popping. My pain would even radiate to my lower teeth. Once I found my dentist that treating my TMD all of the chronic tooth pain went away and all my other symptoms. Until I was told I had TMD I would have never thought about my joint actually hurting, I was always thinking that is was like ear aches and sinus problems, once the 13th dentist told me I had TMD,it all kind of clicked in my head. My long list symptoms I had is on a recent post. I will see if I can find and bump up for you to read.
I hope this helps
This is exactly what I feel like though for not as long. It started with a root canal as well. I have been told TMJ and I have been told atypical trigenimal neuralgia (T.N.). A neurologist my oral surgeon referred me to diagnosed the T.N. and I thought he was wrong. But after researching on the internet I amazingly ran across very many people with T.N. where the pain was mostly felt in the teeth/gums and they had a great deal of dental work to try to relieve the pain. So I don't know now, maybe he is right. The thing that doesn't ring right with yours though is that narcotic pain relievers dont usually help it though some people said it did.
Now the TMJ doctor said it was TMJ and it was referred pain although now I realize he was far from a sophisticated TMJ doc. I did wear his splint for 4 months and it didn't help. I have also read recently about bone infections in the jaw area. It is very confusing to know right now what I have. I am trying the T.N. medications. Help somewhat, especially seemed to help the first couple of months but maybe not so much now. There is not a real definitive test for T.N. which makes it hard to know if the doctor is right. Which is why I am wondering again if maybe it is TMJ after all and I just wasn't treated right for it. scary stuff. I know what you are going through - I hope we both find answers.