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Referred Pain – It’s a Pain! – Causes – Part 1

April 7, 2022

The problem with pain, is it’s a sensation that has chemical, neural, emotional and perception component to it. 

Chemical – pain chemicals will be attracted to pain sites in the body. This is not necessarily the site of the pain. 

Neural – pain is usually one sided but not always. If it is severe enough it will cross to the other side of the body via the brain.

Emotion – pain affects those of the brain that control our emotions. It can alter our reactions to the pain that is unique to the person.

Perception – some people should be in a lot of pain but don’t perceive it a problem. For others, it is the totally the opposite! 

We even have the ability to even trick ourselves on perceiving it. It’s called the placebo effect. This affect often has a 30% cure rate. Incredible!

Referred pain

Here are some examples of causes of referred pain –

Sinus pain – is a common site of referring pain to the upper back teeth. The nerves for the upper back teeth lie in the floor of the maxillary sinuses. So, with inflammation of the sinus lining or build-up of pressure in the sinus can make these nerves fire.

If decongestants relieve the pressure in the sinus and the pain goes in the teeth then its probably sinus related. Teeth originated pain is not helped by these medications.

A further example of referred pain is the phenomena that pressure overrides pain. With sinus pain people often clench their teeth. The roots push up and apply pressure to the nerves entering the tooth from the lining of the sinus to reduce the pain. So, the clenching is muscle driven and loads the jaw joint. Presto! Muscle pain and jaw joint pain.

OPG shows sinus full on right side and clear on the left

Lower Jaw/Teeth pain – tend to refer pain the jaw joint or the ear.

Upper Jaw/Teeth pain – tend to refer pain up the side of the face often it the temple area.

Just to complicate the situation, when the pain is severe enough it can be referred to the opposite jaw.

Need an Appointment?

If you’d like to book an appointment with the dentist at Seymour Dental then call us in Dulwich Hill, Sydney on (02) 9564 2397 or
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Next week

Referred Pain - It’s a Pain! - Causes - Part 2