My face has been hurting and I'm concerned

This started over the weekend. I developed an intense pain in my lower jaw - radiating in a straight line across the cleft of the chin. Its not a sharp pain, but its throbbing and …electric for lack of a better word. And it seemed centered around my lower front teeth which are crowded and overlap somewhat but they’ve been like that for 40 years. (I’m 60, I had braces as a teen but these slipped back gradually after the braces were removed) but it felt like the jaw was being squeezed in a vise.

I’ve had problems with jaw pain before, maybe 12 years ago. Back then it seemed to be a side effect of anti-depressant medication but it persisted after the medications stopped. I was frustrated for a few years then I went to a new dentist who recommended replacement of my old worn-down amalgam fillings. Although the recommendation had nothing to do with my facial pain, it turned out to be an immediate and complete cure - the Novocain wore off and I was better.

That was jaw pain in the side of the lower jaw though - this is new pain in a new location and much more intense than that ever was, although both times the pain had the same buzzing electric quality. I had intense pain Sunday night but it felt better Sunday during the day. On Monday, I was able to keep the pain in abeyance until evening, then it ramped up to full intensity. Advil and Robaxin(mild muscle relaxant) helped somewhat, other painkillers did’t make much of a dent. Pain kept me up until 2-3AM then I crashed in spite of it. When I woke up I felt much better and was able to keep the pain in abeyance with Advil until evening, when I had the same experience as the night before - intense pain until I crashed at 3AM or so.

Now, late last week I had noticed a slightly sore spot deep in my chin, I thought it was the start of a cystic pimple. Now I’m thinking maybe I was feeling an inflammation at the root of a tooth. I can’t feel that spot anymore.

So I went to the dentist today and, much to my distress, they could not find anything wrong. And when I got up this morning everything felt better, just a little residual soreness from last night’s agonies- so he could not observe me when I was having pain. The dentist told me to see an oral surgeon if it persisted.( apparently they are also facial pain experts, who knew?)

And now, knock on wood, it’s 5:30 and I’m still feeling no pain, as it were. But I’m concerned - no, to be honest, I’m scared. Scared I am going to be stuck in some nightmare where I have a mystery debilitating pain that keeps me from functioning and no one believes me.

Only other odd factor is that my lower back went into painful spasms Saturday and I was barely able to walk for a couple of days. And, as a side note, I do not take any anti-depressant or any other regular medication and I practice yoga and meditation daily. At this point my fingers are crossed - I’m hoping maybe my theory about a small infection that hit a nerve was right and maybe the infection was small enough to clear up without intervention.

So has anyone ever had a similar experience or any ideas as to what was/is wrong with me?

This may be out of left field–shingles. Now would be the time to start treatment before the rashes start to erupt.

I (male) had TMJ as a late-teen to early-20s; jaw would lock up and give a resounding POP when it let go and be very painful right after.

An old stand-by–pinched nerve. Lotsa nerves in your neck area; all kinds of things can go wrong and be painful. Why are we wired like this? You tell me and we’ll both know.

Of course, I just consulted Dr. Google about shingles and you may be right. Or not. I have felt rather crappy for the last 3 or 4 days, but I attributed it for to the sprained back, the excruciating face pain and painkillers and muscle relaxants.

My doc is out this week but i can call or text or Skype with my insurance company’s in-house doctors and they can write a prescription if they think it is warranted. But I don’t want to do any prophylactic treatment unless I’m sure because there is another complication.

I am scheduled to have cataract surgery next week. I really need this surgery and I suspect a lot of my neck and face tension is the result of having 20/250 vision in the bad eye. I do not want to do or take anything that would cause me to cancel that surgery unless I really must.

Last year I had intermittently throbbing ear pain, not face pain, but ended up going to the dentist who couldn’t find anything even after x-rays. So he sent me off to my doctor for “maybe ear infection”… who couldn’t find anything even after x-rays.

Then a while later, I had a tooth crack in twain down to the roots while eating breakfast (my raisin bran crunch was exceptionally crunchy that morning). The ear pain was suddenly solved, although I kept expecting to accidentally do something to the cracked tooth that would lead to awful pain, until it was finally extracted.

Turns out I’d been clenching/grinding my teeth in my sleep from stress, and pressure on the tooth nerves was coming across as ear pain. I’ve got a night guard now (and an implant), and the pain hasn’t recurred.

The tops of my teeth and a few fillings had been worn down by the clenching - what did your dentist say was the cause of the wear on your amalgam fillings? I know they have a limited lifespan (which is why mine are long gone), but unusual wear on them might be signs of grinding.

I hope I don’t get in trouble for this little hijack but I just wanted to tell the OP that your username is my favorite name on this board. Everytime I see it i wish I had thought of it before you (even tho I never actually thought of it at all). :wink:

Not sure your symptoms match, but as soon as I read the words “face pain” I thought "trigeminal neuralgia.’ You might want to read up on it a little just to rule it out (or in).

Good luck and keep us posted.

Seconding CairoCarol. Buzzing electric type pain sounds like a neuropathic pain. Though you feel something on your chin the actual point the nerve is being irritated might be somewhere else along its path.

Btw, I am not insensitive. Good luck with your issues. :slight_smile:

I thought trigeminal neuralgia too but the location doesn’t sound right. Doesn’t mean it isn’t. You should definitely read up.

If the pain returns, I would suggest the following 2 resources:

-an oral surgeon - I had a cracked lower molar, with an abscess below it, and my upper cheek and sinus hurt. The pain was referring to somewhere entirely different IOW. My dentist couldn’t find it, but the oral surgeon did.

-a neurologist - if it is nerve related, a neurologist is a good resource for finding out what is going on.

The dentist took lots of x-rays yesterday and checked each tooth in the area for pain and couldn’t find anything. Then he called his periodontist into the room to take look. We did have a talk about the possibility that I might be grinding my teeth while sleeping. To be honest, I have a lot of tightness and muscle discomfort in the neck and jaw area and I have trained myself to be mindful about clenching when I am awake and to consciously keep relaxing the jaw. And I have tried many mouth guards for night wear, but they always fall out as soon as I fall asleep ( which tells me I might NOT be clenching) But he did work on my bite a little yesterday, he ground down a couple of front teeth but I’m pretty sure he did this just so he wasn’t sending me away completely empty-handed, as it were.

But the reason for the wear and tear on the fillings he replaced years ago really came down to them being 40+ years old and not that well done to begin with.

Feel free to hijack any of my threads with compliments!

Thanks for the article. I have been reading up on trigeminal neuralgia but this is a more comprehensive article than what I found. I am hoping that is NOT what is happening. Now one odd thing about this pain that defies almost every on-line diagnosis is that it really isn’t lateral at all. It is pretty much centered directly at the chin cleft, maybe a little to the left except when it drifts a little to the right.
But if I have to I will find a good oral surgeon , apparently they are also experts in facial nerve problems.

I did have some pain last night, but it was less intense by several orders of magnitude and I managed it with a little bit of deep breathing and acupressure. I hope the trend continues and this ends up being some fluke.

And excuse my stupid typos if you see them. Until I get my eyes fixed next week I’m typing blind and can’t see well enough to proofread

I recently had stabbing face pain that turned out to be a sinus infection, but that was in my upper jaw. Not sure if it would make your lower jaw hurt like that.

Just as a data point - I have really bad TMJD and have never experienced pain like you’re describing. Any jaw pain is most likely around my ears. If it’s in my lower jaw it’s more like a bruised feeling than anything. Sometimes things get sore at the top of my head where your jaw muscle starts.

I can say though that clenching or any weirdness with my jaw can result in pain from my head to my legs. A couple weeks ago I ate an apple and my back & hips hurt for hours (seriously).

So, if you are clenching or straining in your jaw/neck area that could be causing the pain lower down. Aleve/naproxen really helps me with that secondary pain.

Good luck, hope you find what is causing your pain. I would be scared and annoyed too!

I have trigeminal neuralgia. The location doesn’t sound right to me either, but the symptoms do. It’s very tough to get a diagnosis. I’ll be following.

Could it just be an incipient cold sore? My partner gets them and complains about the “electric” quality of the pain that precedes the actual outbreak. Most people are infected, if you’re under stress you might have an outbreak even though you never previously knew you were infected.

No idea if this relates to your situation, but this article just ran in our newspaper.

Thanks. If that’s what it turns out to be I’ll be glad to have you around - well, I’ll be glad to have you around even if it’s something else, but extra glad if…you know what I mean.

You may be right I hope I hope I hope so. And I now have an ulcerated spot deep at the base of the lower lip, where it meets the gum line, just left of center. And it’s kind of tingly. I’m not particularly religious but please God or Allah or Shiva or Buddha, please let this be the cause. And in retrospect I have been feeling sort of previral -prodromal this week although I was attributing that to pain and painkiller fog. But I’ve definitely really got the light sensitive thing happening today.

I have to stop the Advil today so I switched to Tylenol. I don’t have any pain right now which is typical for daytime but for the first time I don’t feel like the pain is incipient, knock on wood.

So I just need to hope and pray and power through this ( if it doesn’t stop ) until after my surgery next week then if it is still happening I will refocus my energies into figuring it out.

So, now I’m sick.
Not deathly ill, just run of the mill body aches, headache, feeling like crap and I have a couple of mouth ulcers deep at the bottom of the inside of the lower lip and gum. And I miss my Advil, Tylenol sucks.

No fever, but I hardly ever run fevers unless I’m really sick. I don’t ever get a slight fever, it’s normal or 104. It took me forever to find my thermometer I haven’t used it in like 10 years. I don’t get sick often -when a bug is going around and everyone around me is getting really ill I just feel rundown for a few days. Healthy immune system. I guess.

But I’m still really concerned, apparently there is quite a relationship between the herpes virus that causes cold sores and the trigeminal nerve and I could have recurring issues. But the intense pain has abated for now.

So you’re going to call your doctor today, yes?

I was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia this past year. The symptoms you describe are similar to mine. The bad attack happened last November. Since that time I have felt discomfort, but the intense awful pain has not come back.

My doctor is away today but I’m going call the insurance company’s free doctor service.

Although with them you usually get what you pay for. But I’ll try to get an anti-viral and a mouthwash or something for the immediate symptoms* and I’ll deal with possible long term consequences next week.

Although I’ll have to strategize this because my doctors seem to NEVER give me what I request. If I call and scream about pain Pain PAIN maybe I’ll get an anti-viral. If I say I want an anti-viral they’ll probably refuse and give me a bunch of codeine instead.

I’m serious, this exact thing happened to me once when I wanted an antibiotic.