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  • Severe toothache pain, but no sign of needed dental work. Please help!

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    Old 05-28-2018, 07:59 PM   #1
    sirwilliam17's Avatar
    Join Date: May 2018
    Location: Sonoma, CA USA
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    sirwilliam17 HB User
    Unhappy Severe toothache pain, but no sign of needed dental work. Please help!

    This has been a long and painful journey. I'm hoping this forum can provide answers-- I'll try to provide as much detail as possible. For a shorter summary, scroll below.

    Back in December 2017, I started feeling pain in my upper left and bottom left molars (both of them second from the back). Thought it was a cavity, since the pain was mild. Went to a dental clinic, had them filled. 3 weeks later bottom left tooth was feeling fine, but the upper left was still hurting. Over the next few months I was going back in, then waiting 2-3 weeks in between treatments because they remarked that the teeth were probably still sensitive. In that time, they re-filled the upper left molar, filled other shallow cavities, but the pain had still remained. Went through 3 different dentists in that clinic-- all agreed that a root canal was not necessary, the cavity was not deep enough. There was also no sign of infection or abscess-- I had overall good dental health.

    So I was told to wait another 2 weeks to see if the pain would subside, it didn't, in fact it worsened: twice a day around late morning and late afternoon I would have a deep throbbing pain in that upper left molar that would resonate to a headache on the left side of my forehead, and a twinge in the left side of my neck. The intensity and length of these episodes have increased over the past few months.

    I went back in and they finally referred me to a root canal specialist. Mind you this was a Medi-Cal office-- one of the most disturbing dental experiences, but basically the dentist shook my jaw and took a grinder straight to my bottom left molar and caused a jolt of intense pain. He said I was grinding and clenching my teeth and told me to keep my teeth apart, then walked off. Nurse pulls me aside gives me x-rays and says it's for sure my impacted wisdom teeth not the clenching.

    At this point I decide to go out of pocket and get a straight answer. Go to a highly recommended dentist in my town. She knocks the tooth (the upper left molar that's causing all the pain) and does a temperature test on it-- No noticeable triggering of pain. Looks at the condition of my teeth, says if I am grinding I'm not grinding enough where I'm wearing down my teeth. At this point I'll mention I've had a clicking jaw for years but its been asymptomatic, and she said that a lot of people who have TMJ that tends to be the case.
    So she concludes it must be the wisdom teeth. The x-ray showed that my upper left wisdom tooth was pressing up against my back molar quite a bit, but that's not the molar that's in pain, but she said it could be irritating a nerve that's radiating pain to that tooth.

    So off I go to get my wisdom teeth removed. Met with another highly recommended oral surgeon in my town. He agreed, that's gotta be where the pain is coming from. Before I go under I ask him, 'How sure are you this is the cause of the pain?' '90%' He replies. Boom, I'm out. I wake up and the following week I'm recovering from my wisdom teeth being extracted. I don't like painkillers so I was on a heavy dose of Ibuprofen. During that week I could occasionally feel pain in that tooth but nothing too severe because I was on Ibuprofen-- but there was that dread inside me: this might not have fixed the problem. Day before the follow-up appointment with my oral surgeon I stopped taking the ibuprofen because I wasn't in pain and the surgical sites were healing nicely. And that night, I get another episode. Pain in the tooth and a left sided headache, I could barely sit upright.

    The next day I follow up with the oral surgeon, he says I'm likely still sensitive from the surgery. Says to wait two weeks. But I don't see any form of improvement. The attacks still happen 2-3 times a day and they're becoming more intense. Yesterday I was on the floor for 40 minutes straight.

    Went to a general practitioner, she prescribed me allergy medicine (Claritin and Gabapentin-- for calming the nerves). Said it could be my sinus cavity. But I don't have any congestion or sinus pain. It's been 3 days since I've taken her meds no improvement. I'm currently taking Ibuprofen which helps suppress the pain but I would prefer not to take that long-term-- it's not a permanent solution.

    So a more concise descriptions of the symptoms in their current state:

    Throbbing pain in the upper left molar (second from the back), that radiates to the left side of the head and a twinge in the neck. These attacks happen 2-3 times a day around 11AM, 4:30PM, and 8:00PM; they start with a dull ache in the tooth then escalate into intense pain (8-10 on the pain scale) for about 30-45 minutes straight. The pain is intense and I'm usually incapacitated till it stops. There is a dull ache (1-2 on the pain scale) in the tooth in between these episodes and sometimes no pain at all.

    Ibuprofen helps with the pain if I'm ahead of the attacks. Don't know if it has anything to do with the trigeminal neuralgia since I wouldn't describe the pain as burning or shocking, but more of a throbbing/stabbing pain. And the onset of the pain is not sudden, but a gradual escalation-- starts with a dull ache then into the intense throbbing in the tooth and the forehead (left-side).

    No sign of tooth infection. No sign of abscess. No sign of root canal needed. I have a clicking jaw but no soreness in the jaw or jaw joints when I wake up, nor any signs of swelling so I don't think it's bruxism. Wore a night guard for the past two nights but no noticeable improvement.

    My best guess is something to do with a nerve since it's all connected. But that's all I got. Doctors and dentists are kind of shrugging their shoulders and saying wait and see, but the pain is worsening. Looking for answers, or anybody else who went through something similar, please help. Where do I go to or what do I do next?

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    bruxism, headache, nerve pain, toothache, trigeminal

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