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Jaw and ear pain after dental work
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Questions in the Dental Health forum are answered by Dr. Jerome Tsang. Topics covered include bridges, cavities, crowns, and x-rays.

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Jaw and ear pain after dental work

I cracked an old filling and went to the dentist, no pain, it just needed to be replaced he said. After getting this tooth and the one behind it re-filled, I started having pain that night and especially the next day. I went back to the dentist a couple days later and they took x-rays and found nothing wrong, put me on penicillin just in case an infection was starting. Still no pain in the tooth or the one behind it; but severe pain in the jaw and ear and glands in the neck. The dentist wasn’t very optimistic about a root canal and said that was an option or having it pulled, I chose to have it pulled; but wasn’t sure which tooth needed pulled. She said the one that had a cracked filling; the tooth might have a crack in it. I had that one pulled and still have the same amount of pain or more; even went to the ER thinking it might be a ear infection which it isn’t. No dry socket either. Is it a jaw bone infection? After I had the tooth pulled I was put on clindamycin. I went back to the oral surgeon because the pain is so bad and he said it is healing nicely and gave me Percocet and said to give it a couple more days. It has been a week since I have had the tooth pulled and the pain is getting worse. I am taking 2 Percocet (325) every 4 hours and that isn’t taking the pain away. Only lasts about 2 hours. I can’t live like this, it is terrible. I don’t know what to do. I don’t think there was anything wrong with the tooth in the first place, I think the pain started when my jaw became infected while the first dentist drilled out my old filling and put in the new one. Not to blame anyone, I just think that is what happened. I need help! The oral surgeon is acting like it is no big deal, and I am tired of yelling and crying.

Any advice?
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540545_tn?1377626518
Well, based upon your story, I'm inclined to think the second tooth behind it is the culprit.  Have they tried numbing the area to see if it'll relieve the pain?  Have they tried any other tests?  

Sometimes there's a condition called pulpal degeneration.  If the tooth behind it was re-filled, it can trigger a degeneration of the nerve inside the tooth.  Even if the x-ray looks good and there doesn't appear to be an infection, it can still result in damage to the nerve.  That would be my suspicion since the cracked tooth was removed.  I would run a few tests and if it seemed that it was the second tooth that was refilled, I would attempt a pulpectomy (start of a root canal) and see if that'll relieve the pain.  
5 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
They gave me a shot to numb my tooth before they pulled it, and I can remember crying becasue the pain was so intense in my ear and jaw. They have tapped on both teeth and the area around the teeth and no pain. The x-ray showed nothing as well. Only my jaw and ear have pain. It especially hurts after eating or should I say chewing (I chew on the other side).
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540545_tn?1377626518
Try this.  Grab a Q-tip and bite on it and see if theres pain on the tooth.  That'll help you isolate the pain.  If it hurts in the ear and jaw joint, I would then suspect that there may be a problem with the TMJ or other area.  Do you have a problem opening and closing the mouth?  
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Avatar_n_tn
I have the same problem, I think it might be a allergic reaction to the Clindamycin.  Before I started taking this stuff, only my tooth hurt (isolated), after I started taking this then my whole lower jaw hurts!
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A related discussion, ear and jaw pain after crown was started.
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540545_tn?1377626518
Jerome Tsang, DDSBlank
Irvine Modern Dentistry
Irvine, CA
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