Diagnosis of what is causing the pain as well as treatment of the problem requires an examination by the dentist.

TMJ Pain

One common cause of pain is TMJ, the chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint. Symptoms associated with TMJ disorders may be:

  • Biting or chewing difficulty or discomfort
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sound when opening or closing the mouth
  • Dull, aching pain in the face
  • Earache
  • Headache
  • Jaw pain or tenderness of the jaw
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Difficulty opening or closing the mouth

Simple, gentle therapies are usually recommended first.

  • Learn how to gently stretch, relax, or massage the muscles around your jaw. Your doctor, dentist, or physical therapist can help you with these.
  • Avoid actions that cause your symptoms, such as yawning, singing, and chewing gum.
  • Try moist heat or cold packs on your face.
  • Learn stress-reducing techniques.
  • Exercising several times each week may help you increase your ability to handle pain.

Sinus Pain

A toothache related to a sinus infection is related to an infection in the maxillary sinuses. The pressure that builds in the maxillary sinuses causes tooth pain in the upper back teeth. You may feel it most when chewing food. This pain is referred to as a sinus toothache. If you're experiencing pain in several teeth, rather than one tooth, it's likely the pain is associated with a sinus infection. Evidence of a sinus infection can include nasal congestion, headache, discharge in the back of the throat, fever, tooth pain, and fatigue. You can even experience tenderness on both sides of the face or pressure under the eyes. Treatment for sinus infections involve antibiotics, decongestants and antihistamines.

Pain from Crown or Filling Coming Out

A lost filling or crown is rarely an emergency. However, it can be painful because the exposed tooth tissue is often sensitive to temperature, pressure or air. If you lose a crown, put it in a safe place and make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as you can.

Other Pain

There are many more causes for pain other than TMJ. In general, you may try:

  • heat (apply a warm, but not hot, washcloth to the area in pain)
  • cold (apply an ice pack to the area in pain, or sip ice water)
  • general to moderate pressure (apply to the area in pain)
  • any number of over the counter medications (Always check with your doctor or pharmacist if you have drug allergies, are taking other medications, or have other medical conditions.)

Examples of medications you may want to try are:

  • Topical anesthetic (Oragel™)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • Naproxen (Aleve)
  • Aspirin

Important: You may desire to use pain medication which you have on hand from a previously diagnosed and treated condition. Before you take this medication, check with the prescriber and inform them of any changes in your medical condition, or medications, since this pain medication was prescribed.