Some generalised nondescript pain

  • Grinding or clenching habits
  • Pain radiation/referral
  • Sinusitis
  • Wisdom tooth

In today's busy life styles there is an ever increasing habit of clenching or grinding of teeth which in most instances people do at night in their sleep. The resulting problem tends to be a dull ache or mild ache that seems to be across a number of teeth and they sometimes are tender to percussion (tapping).

There is also tenderness when you rub firmly down the sides of the face where one of the chewing muscles tend to be. There is also some tenderness when chewing hard or chewy foods but it doesn't often tend to be associated with one tooth but usually more than one.At times there is also associated frequency of headaches and other “toothache” and “faceache” like feelings.

Pain Radiation / Referral - this is a known ”curve ball” . It may be that due to our nervous system at times though the pain seems to be coming from one particular area the cause of the problem can be from the opposite jaw BUT never from the opposite side, so you cannot have a decayed tooth on the right and it seems to be giving you problems on the left. However many times a bottom badly decayed tooth can make the patient feel as the pain is emanating from the top back tooth and visa versa.

Sinusitis is not uncommon in making the patient believe that they have toothache.Many people with sinusitis when they are suffering from it have commented that when they run or even walk it feels that their teeth are “banging or bouncing” in their sockets. Also if sinuses are filled with material there is an increase in pressure of the sinus and this can be suach as to give the feeling of toothache in the teeth adjacent to the sinus.An easy way to check is if you are standing up and have the toothache but when you bend over and touch your toes and remain there afew seconds and the ache has gone and then when you come back up again the ache returns it is likely to be a sinus problem.

Finally wisdom teeth are known to giving a generalised pain or ache that can extend from the tooth in question and all the area around it to the ear and even the head and neck.Usually if the tooth is trying to come out it tends to have gained some form of exit between the “outside” world (the mouth) and where it was lying deep in the jaw covered. At this stage usually either food debris or bacteria find this deep pocket area and are sheltered and can therefore create a problem. If the infetion is bad enough other than the ache in the area around the tooth patients find difficulty in opening the mouth, they may have a fever and feel generally unwell. These signs and symptoms can recur if the patient has not sought help till it gets to the point where serious infections can ensue.


Clenching and grinding – you must see your dentist. If this is allowed to carry on unchecked then attrition of the teeth can occur which can affect the jaw joint but also can make the teeth look shorter and aesthetically unacceptable . Initially the patient has a custom made splint made for them to wear this allows the easy gliding of the teeth over eachother so no adverse forces are placed on the teeth or joint . It is worn at nights ad eventually either can be not worn at all or with some patients they wear it when they know they will grind due to the stresses of the day.

Pain referral / radiation - again in this case only your dentist will be able to see and advise of other teeth that may be the cause of your problem.

Sinusitis - in this case your dentist will refer you on to your general medical practitioner for treatment of your sinus condition. Certainly if there is a delay in seeing your doctor then using a teaspoon of either eucalyptus oil or vicks in a bowl of boiling water with a drape over the head and inhaling the fumes may give some relief to the sinus and so the tooth problem.

Wisdom teeth - In this case you must see your dentist. Till you make the appointment you may take half a glass of relatively hot water and place in it a teaspoon of salt then place in it half a soluable aspro or dispirin and rinse for 10 seconds each mouthful and do this half glass at least 5-7times a day. It may be that if left unchecked wisdom tooth problems can quickly develop to more serious infections. Depending on the severity of problem the dentist may give you antibiotics and once the infection is abated he may then remove it himself or he may refer you on to an oral surgeon to have it removed.