Not A Lie, But Not The Tooth

So… here’s the deal:
The pain is real
(My little slice of hell)
And yet, in truth
It’s not my tooth!
(As near as we can tell)

The X-rays show
We do not know
The reason for my pain
No fault is shown
In tooth or bone…
So here we go again

I searched; I sought—
As well I ought—
But still I have no answer
It’s rotten luck,
But… what the fuck,
At least it isn’t cancer

Yeah, well… No extraction, no root canal, no nasty cavity… Near as my dentist can tell, there is no dental reason that I should be in pain. So… we are back to demons. Alvin Plantinga should be pleased.

There is a great bit of relief in knowing it is *not* a dead or dying tooth, or an abscess, or some nasty cancerous growth. There is a great bit of the opposite of relief in still not knowing why I am in pain. Currently, the plan is, either the pain will go away (yay!), or it will not (boo!), or perhaps get worse (more boo!). I am hoping for the first, I think.

Could be neuralgia of the trigeminal nerve. Which basically just says a pain of the nerve that goes to the area that hurt, but says it in latin. It mostly hurts in English, so neuralgia is not my hope.

Anyway, it’s definitely not face cancer. I asked. And my teeth are sound. So I’m back to chewing stuff and occasionally cursing. And not knowing a damn thing about why.


  1. lorn says

    I had a mystery pain that would come and go. After many tests and operational theories from dentists and endodontists it came down to two likely actors: clenching my jaws on one side as I slept, and recession of the gums combined with a seasonal allergy that caused me to breath through my mouth which caused the gum line to dry out and be exposed to cold air.

    The result was a near constant dull aching pain that would slowly come and go combined with shooting pains that felt like electrical charges radiating up the side of my face. Normally these insults were just nagging pains but at their height, with every insult irritating the nerve, it was unbearable and disrupted my sleep and work.

    What worked for me: An initial prescription for a short supply, I still have a few, of pain pills/anti-inflamatories. A mouth guard to spread the clenching load out, Nasacort to avoid the necessity of breathing through the mouth, and a toothpaste with nitrates to lessen sensitivity.

    Had I the money I would have had my gums reworked.

  2. Trebuchet says

    Not wanting to be a downer, but…
    Last spring I had an odd spot on my gum. I had a routine dental appointment coming up so I pointed it out. Dentist said it would probably go away, but come back if it didn’t. It didn’t, so I went back. He still couldn’t see anything but sent me to the endodontist, since it was adjacent to an old root canal which might have gone bad. Endontist confirmed that the root canal had failed and I had a 1cm (0.4 inch!) abscess in my jaw, causing the sensitive spot on the gum. The root canal got all drilled out (again) and packed with antibiotics. Once the infection was out of the tooth, he went in to refill it and discovered the tooth to be fractured. On to the oral surgeon for an extraction, back to the original dentist for a temporary bridge, then back again last week to be scanned for the permanent bridge. In a couple of weeks I MIGHT be done with this saga.

    Moral to this storage: If it keeps up, see another practitioner. My dentist is very good but wasn’t trained to see the abscess. At least he was smart enough to send me to someone who could.

  3. Cuttlefish says

    Oh, I’m fairly certain I know what it is, now. A passing comment by the dentist made me look up “trigeminal neuralgia”, and the bad news is, it fits to a tee. I can, for instance, gently brush the skin under my lower lip and produce a sensation like I have hooked up jumper cables to my molars. It lasts under a second, then goes to a dull ache which soon fades to nothing at all. Then… take a bite of food and the entire left jawline, up to and including lower lip, feels like I have ripped it in half. This again fades to nothing.

    Could be worse; some cases have the intense pain going on for a matter of minutes at a time.

    There are treatments, none of which look like fun (side effects of anticonvulsants or muscle relaxants, up to neurosurgery where they go in behind your ear… my ear, I guess). And it can go into remission for years (that is what I personally am hoping for). And aspirin or ibuprofen do not work.

    Anyway, at this point it is self-diagnosis. I’ll talk to my doc, and hope he has better news.

  4. Trebuchet says

    Ouch! Having looked that up, I’d rather have my problem. Hope you can get on a good management plan of some sort.

  5. says

    Try acupuncture? A hygienist’s clean care?
    Warm salt water rinses? No food, if you dare?
    You have all our sympathy. Your anguish we share.
    Whatever you do, don’t bother with prayer.

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