Phantom Tooth Pain and Your TMJ Disorder

Phantom tooth pain is very real. It can be a chronic pain existing in an actual tooth, or in an area where a tooth has been removed. Sometimes there is no clear cause of the pain, and yet, over time, the pain can spread to other areas of the face, jaw and neck. This week we will discuss basic facts about this condition and its relationship to TMJ disorders.


Alternative Names

Many other names for phantom tooth pain exist. It is also known as phantom pain syndrome, neuropathic oral facial pain and atypical odontalgia.

The Frustrating Diagnosis

Phantom tooth pain is often a frustrating experience for patients. This is because tooth pain is present and very real, and yet exam and x-rays reveal no damage or decay in a tooth. The pain may also be present long after a dental procedure has been performed. Sometimes patients start to experience phantom tooth pain six months after a procedure was performed.  This adds to the frustration. How can there be pain in an area where the body part, or tooth, is no longer present?

The pain experienced can be slight or severe. It may also be triggered by hot or cold pressure. Pain may also exist not only in one area, but throughout the entire mouth. And what’s worse, some patients feel a sense of despair and start to believe unnecessary dental procedures were performed that did nothing to alleviate their discomfort.

What’s Going On?

Phantom tooth pain was likely triggered by a dental procedure, including a filling, a root canal or removal of a tooth. Unfortunately, damage already existed in the surrounding nerves and the procedure simply exacerbated the nerve endings. This is why many patients experience high levels of frustration. They anticipate feeling better after a dental procedure, and instead they only feel worse.

Getting the Diagnosis You Deserve

If you are experiencing phantom tooth pain, don’t put off treatment. You need to undergo another exam. It may be determined that other tests should be ordered, including x-rays, MRI scans, CT scans or possibly i-CAT scanning. 

The Connection to TMD

You are experiencing nerve pain. But it may start to feel like it has spread to other parts of your body. Perhaps there is pain in the peripheral nerves, such as the limbs and torso. It may also be present in the central nervous system, affecting the brain and spine.


A number of therapies are available. But the first step is meeting with Dr. Ronald C. Auvenshine. He can help pinpoint the true source of your discomfort and determine if phantom tooth pain or another ailment is to blame.


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