Dental Problems in CFS and Fibromyalgia

Published: September 24, 2012
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Sherry asks:

I was interested in hearing about the potential increased sensitivities in persons with FM. About 7 years ago, I had a very deep root canal in an upper right molar tooth, and even though dental x rays show it continues to be fine, from time to time it hurts and is very sensitive. Is teeth sensitivity more common in persons with FM and is there anything one can do about it if so? Thanks so much.

I continue to be amazed by how much help Dr. T has provided to soooo many people. THANK YOU!

Answer

Dear Sherry,

Thanks—and you're welcome ;-)

Dental pain, including hot and cold sensitivity, can often come from:

  1. Referred pain from facial muscles, which can be felt in a healthy tooth. Many healthy teeth get root canals for pain referred from face muscles, and face muscle pain (including TMJ and jaw joint problems) is more common in FMS. What is called TMJ is also often simply spasm of the masseter muscle in front of the ear and responds to the therapy below as well. If you do not have a dentist or pain specialist familiar with this problem (most are not), you can check yourself. If the tooth that is sensitive is:
    1. In the lower jaw: press hard on the face muscles directly below the affected tooth.
    2. In the upper jaw: (i)
      1. For your front teeth, push along your upper lip just below your nose.
      2. For the 3-4 teeth on the right or left side of your upper jaw, push on the muscles along that side of the face between the ear and eyes from top of your forehead to the bottom of the ear lobe on the side of the affected tooth.
  • When you find tender spots, push on them for ~ 45 seconds to see if they affect the tooth discomfort. If yes, that muscle is the likely pain trigger. Injecting the tender belly of the muscle with lidocaine (Novocain) to see if the dental pain stops for a few hours is a confirmatory test. I would ask your doctor to order the prescription pain gel/lotion discussed in my book, Pain Free 1-2-3, and apply it to the tender muscle (over the skin is OK) 3x day for 3-6 weeks to see if it helps.
  1. Chipping teeth, from acid reflux which occurs during the day and sometimes even at night, can weaken the tooth and is also common.

L&B,
Dr. T

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