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Dentistry/Sharp pain with no cause



I have a tendency to bite down often throughout the day (I think it's an anxiety thing). Last night I bit down and had a horrible sharp pain on the top left side of my mouth, but I could not tell which specific tooth. For the remainder of the night I continued to have the sharp pain, sometimes bad, sometimes not whenever I bit down. I called a local oral surgeon since the regular dentist is not in on Sundays. Today when I woke up the pain appeared to be gone but I went to the appointment anyway because I am worried it will start again.

The dentist could not find anything wrong and things it is a muscular problem because when he pushed down on the muscles it was very tender. I do have several big fillings that eventually will need caps but he does not believe it is the problem. I am just nervous because it was such a sharp pain.

I have had a sinus infection for about a year that they have failed to cure and now are looking into other options to get rid of it. I also have a cyst in my sinus on the left side, but the dentist said it would not cause the pain I was explaining.

I was wondering if you have ever experienced anything like this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

Steph - I have had patients with severe pain who came to me with it gone.  Muscle spasms can produce this type of pain, just like a leg muscle spasm.  Likewise, internal inflammation or infection within a tooth can produce episodes of severe pain due to increase internal pressure. This pressure can occasionally be released and the pain is gone.

So either of the above examples could produce the pain, but it is important to definitely discover the cause or it can occur again.  If the muscles are the cause, the doctor needs to discover why the spasms occur and prevent it from occurring again.


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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and I am available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicine for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor and State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA -University of Connecticut DMD - University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Awards and Honors
National Honor Society (OKU), Philadelphia County Dental Society, Mosby Book Award, Oral Surgery Honors, Summa Cum Laude

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