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Referred Pain

Referred pain is felt in an area innervated by a nerve different from that which innervates the primary site of pain.

Dental pain, for example, can refer to other teeth, the head, ear, eye, periorbital region, or jaw.

The following non-oral conditions can cause pain felt in the teeth or mouth:

  • Acute maxillary bacterial sinusitis or acute otitis media 
  • Temporomandibular Joint (Refer to Temporomandibular Joint Disorders for more information.)
    Temporomandibular Joint: The diarthrosis between the temporal bone and mandible that includes the condyloid process below separated by an articular disk from the glenoid fossa above and that allows for the opening, closing, protrusion, retraction, and lateral movement of the mandible.
  • Atypical facial pain
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Migraine headaches
  • Psychogenic 
  • Neoplasia, such as leukemia
Dental pathology should be considered in the differential diagnosis of eye, ear, head, jaw, facial, and temple pain.
Acute bacterial sinusitis and otitis media can present clinically as tooth pain.

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