PACT Spry Menu Pages
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. Therefore, dental disease should be considered in the differential diagnosis of otalgia, eye pain, facial pain, headache, jaw pain, and pain localized to the temple.

The following non-oral conditions can cause pain felt in the teeth or mouth:
Acute maxillary bacterial sinusitis or acute otitis media – Pain may be felt in the upper back teeth.
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.
Temporomandibular Joint. (Refer to Temporomandibular Joint Disorders for more information.)
Atypical facial pain – Facial nerve disorder that often presents as a toothache.
Trigeminal neuralgia.
Migraine headaches.
Neoplasia such as leukemia – Can cause jaw pain, which can refer to the mouth.

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.

View the Chapter 9 Photo Gallery.