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Trying To Self Diagnose & Tooth Pain
7 Replies
Tanker - September 12

After being worn out and tired for most of my life, I started to get pains in several different parts of my body, hands, shoulders, arms, chest, neck and most of all in my teeth. After hearing where these pains were they sent me in for a cardiac cath. and sure enough I needed 3 stents on my heart. They gave the pains a couple of weeks to go away but they did not. I don't think they were cardiac at all but was still lucky that they found the clogged vessels. So right now I feel very tired most of the time and keep getting the pains, especially during and after stressful situations. I have the fog, and skin and muscle sensitivity and sleep problems too so it's very hard to exercise. Many of these problems seem to have been with me to a lesser extent for most of my life. I also have had 4 bouts of Lyme Disease too. What's my first step and is tooth (or jaw) pain, from the sides and lower jaw, a common symptom?


Jocelyn - September 14

Tooth pain can be caused by many things. Sensitive teeth can be very painful just to breath in air. Have you talked to your dentist about your teeth issue? You need to. What kind of doctors are you seeing for your other pains? Are you seeing a Rhuemotolgist?

I am glad they found the blocked arteries, that saved you from having a storke or heart attack.

Please let me know who are are seeing for the other situtaions.


January - September 16

Hi tanker and jocelyn. Tooth pain! oh, boy. They love it when you walk in the door with nonspecific generalized tooth/jaw pain. You're a sitting duck for all kinds of treatments! I've been through more dental work than I even want to think about. I trusted the "professionals." I've been going my whole life, and more recently, was shuffled around several different dental practices to "specialists." Each procedure weakens your natural tooth structure, and can possibly cause infection. Even with ALL the work I had done, I still have pain! I finally quit going, and I just live with pain, which I think now comes from all the work that was done! Of course, I have to take care of the occasional serious problem that crops up, but at this point I want proof of why I need treatment, and my current answer to constant X-rays and cleanings, minor adjustments, etc. etc. is "no." If I need anything extensive again, I will get a second (and maybe a third) opinion.

But I want to note here that when you go to the dentist, you might want to seriously considering NOT SAYING YOU HAVE FIBROMYALGIA, at least not up front. One thing I discovered, after getting my records and reviewing them, was that if you say you have fibromyalgia that can work against you in several ways.

I was told that having all my teeth reamed out might "cure" my fibro pain. This very specialized person insinuated that some people had been greatly helped by extensive dental work. So I tried it. Didn't work, left me with a real mess. On the other end of the continuum, "fibromyalgia" may spell the end of the story. The professionals don't bother to do any further diagnostic work -- they just attribute your pain to fibro. You could have sensitive teeth, tooth grinding at night, clenching due to anxiety, cracked teeth, infected bone or roots, infection and decay under old fillings, abscesses, weird tissues or tumors that cause pain, sinus problems - it could be referred pain from elsewhere -- there are SO many things that can cause dental pain, Jocelyn is right. But you might be able to treat the problem rather simply, with the right diagnosis and doctor! For example...

If it's very sensitive teeth (due to the genetic structure of the tooth, and microtubules that everyone does not have, it can sometimes be treated simply with a toothpaste like Sensodyne). Another: I clenched my teeth at night for DECADES - and they were fragile to begin with - so I cracked my teeth. Guess what stopped the clenching. A little piece of Valium taken at bedtime. Helps with sleep and anxiety too. And I have never, in 2 decades, increased the dose. Somebody could have saved me a lot of broken teeth if they had treated the night time anxiety when I was young. Another: I have come to realize that the barometric pressure affects my head. I used to get terrible migraines with the weather. The migraines are not so bad now, but I do get jaw and face pain when the pressure changes.

You need a REALLY good work up by an excellent dentist. I have heard that dentists with additional training by the Pankey Institute are good with pain syndromes. You can google online, and there might be one in your area. I have not been myself, but know someone who has and swears by them.

When you see a dentist, get copies of X-rays or scans, a written report with diagnoses and suggestions for treatment. Then, I'd suggest you go a little ways out of town (to a dentist who doesn't know all your other dentists) and get a second opinion to validate the first one. Share the X-rays and scans, but NOT the diagnoses - let the 2nd dentist figure it out. THEN compare, and decide if the diagnoses match up, and if you need the work. I believe many dentists try to "sell" you on really expensive procedures - and you might not even need them. They will almost never expose their professional friends, no matter how bad the work is. So don't ask your current dentist to refer you for a second opinion - because he might just send you to a friend who will rubber stamp everything.

Some dentists are honest - but some are in it to sell you their services and make money. Just met someone recently who was told she needed a lot of dental work - some of it sounded crazy - it made no sense. She went for a second opinion, and the second dentist told her it sounded crazy to him too. So buyer beware!


January - September 16

PS. I do NOT know how Lyme Disease affects jaw/tooth pain - it is one nasty illness, and it might be a good idea to check with your Lyme doctor to see if he knows anything about this. Hope you can get some relief - but just wanted to warn you about undergoing extensive dental procedures before you get a SOLID diagnosis and have a good reason to do so. Feel better.


Jocelyn - September 17


Again thank you for sharing with us your knowledge and hands experiences. You are saving a lot of people headaches and money not will spent!


Tanker - September 17

Thanks for the replies, I'm still trying to find the Docs that I need to see. I either have to deal with mediocre care in my area or travel into NYC which is a big PIA for me. As far as a "Lyme Disease Doc", in 3 of the cases they just threw antibiotics at me and said take these for 30 days. The last case they stopped me at 2 weeks which is not great if the disease is not all gone or there is some other bug that the tick infected me with. So far my Dentist & Cardiologist just don't have much to say when I explain about the pains in the teeth and other parts of my body, they just look and stare and change the subject. They say that if they don't go away soon that I will need to try some medications and/or another cath to determine if it's cardiac or not. As far as mentioning Fibromyalgia they look at you like you have 2 heads and when you say that you have most of the symptoms they act as if NOTHING on the Web could possibly be true. Will post again when I have more info, good luck to all.


Jocelyn - September 17

You are in a very frustrating situation, as we all have been at times. Don't give up and keep on trying. NYC may be you best bet even though it is a PITA. I travel to Boston for my Dr. However, I live 30 minutes away, but the traffic is horrific as it is in all large cities.

Best to you.


January - September 22

Tanker - Fibromyalgia really is not a specific disease, it is a "syndrome" - a cluster of symptoms that tend to occur together, that's all. There is no specific test for fibro and no proven treatment - we are all experimenting on ourselves. As most of us old-timers say "we are all different." Most of us have a different "menu" of symptoms, and different treatments work for different people. Fibro is probably caused by many different diseases and conditions, and THOSE are what should be treated - but first they must be diagnosed. To just throw antidepressants at someone (without doing complete diagnostic workups) is not a good idea - just my opinion! You don't say if you are taking antidepressants, but my experience was that they can CAUSE the symptoms they are supposedly treating, in some people - things like brain fog, exhaustion, pain, insomnia and a number of other weird feelings. Some also cause problems with potassium or sodium levels, can put you into diabetes or seriously damage your liver.

It is very frustrating, and you have to do your own research and find a doctor who will work with you. One of the books that I found very helpful when I got this "syndrome" was From Fatigued to Fantastic by Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum. He has fibro himself, and the book was full of good advice.

It seems that fibromyalgia has been heavily marketed and given some validity mostly by the Big Pharma drug companies who stand to profit greatly because the main treatment for fibro is antidepressant drugs, according to their ads anyway. Of course, that means it's a disease of depression, not a "real" disease - all in your crazy head! For me, it took years to figure out that antidepressants made me really sick. I am much better without them. Going on a gluten free diet cured a lot of my fibro pain. I take a lot of supplements - I probably have always had celiac disease which means malabsorption of nutrients. 97% of celiacs go undiagnosed - doctors in this country are told it does not exist here. I think my fatigue is probably post viral.

Of course, your specialists in other areas, will not know much, if anything, about fibromyalgia - for that, you need to find a rheumatologist who works with fibromyalgia patients. I have heard of an interesting group of clinics - google "fibro and fatigue clinics." Their approach to fibromyalgia is that it is often caused by Lyme Disease. Since you have Lyme, this might be a good place to check out. I found out about the clinics from Life Extension. However, I have no direct experience with them, and it appears there is some controversy, so do your own research.

Also, there are some good Lyme forums online - you may be aware of them. I have read that Lyme Disease needs about 18 months of IV antibiotics to be treated - 2 to 4 weeks of oral antibiotics is not really adequate for most people. Again, this is controversial! The organisms also go into latent phases, so sometimes they show up in blood tests, and sometimes they don't. It doesn't mean they're gone from your body. You may know all this. Hope you are dealing with a well-educated Lyme physician. If Lyme goes untreated, it can cause serious problems later on. It is prevalent where I live, and it's a scary thing to consider. Wishing you the best of luck. Please do all you can to research, educate yourself and advocate for yourself.

I don't know if this will help with your teeth, but there is a recent development in diagnosing tooth and jaw problems. In the last couple years, a new kind of scanner has been developed - it is something like a CAT scan of your teeth. I don't know the name, but it scans your entire jawbone - the results are fed into a computer which produces very clear digital images - showing all sorts of problems that dentists were not able to see previously. In my area, there is an oral surgeon with one of these scanners. You might ask around and see if you can find one.

During my years of dental and medical problems - somewhat related - I learned that, while these two areas of health are intimately related, the dentists and the doctors seem to live on different planets. That is, most don't know anything about what the other is doing or how teeth affect health and vice versa. Good luck, just keep looking and asking around. And demand to be treated with respect! YOU are paying them.



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