What could cause severe, unexplained tooth pain?

While there can be a myofascial (muscle/connective tissue) component to this, it will, of course, be secondary to any significant findings by dental surgeons. This answer presupposes you have already sought a diagnosis from a dental surgeon.

Most commonly, the myofascial diagnosis will be of TMJ (temporomandibular joint dysfunction). Muscles that can cause pain in the teeth (due to myofascial trigger points) include:

Temporalis – a broad, flat muscle on each side of the head, which is a key muscle in mastication:


The “knots”, or trigger points, in this muscle refer (or send) pain to the regions denoted in red – including the teeth. To find if this is the cause of the pain, we’re going to do a bit of trigger point decompression. Heat the temporalis muscle and press on the “x’s” above until they feel like they soften or disappear. The tooth pain should immediately lessen or disappear as well.

Masseter – a quite strong muscle running vertically along the back of the jaw. This picture also images the lateral pterygoid muscle:


To find if the masseter muscle is the cause of the pain, we’ll treat it as we treated the temporalis muscle. First, heat the muscle. Then, hold compression on the areas indicated by the black dots. Do this until the knot feels like it is dissolving or becoming less painful.

Afterward, yawn as wide as you can, comfortably. Then take the muscle through its full range of motion by moving the lower jaw front/back/R/L/in/out/up/down. Yawn once more.

Again, if the tooth pain has reduced or has disappeared, a myofascial issue is probably your primary culprit.

If not, take yourself back to the your dental surgeon’s scans.