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Can Dental Problems Cause Neck Pain?

by Bruce J Wilderman, D.D.S.
March 29th, 2019
Shutterstock 234983545
Shutterstock 234983545

We already know that proper oral health yields whole-body health. When we view the body holistically, it makes sense that one area can affect another.

Can dental problems cause neck pain? In short, yes. Today, Dr. Bruce Wilderman and our Philadelphia, PA team explain why, and explore some of the restorative dentistry procedures that can address these issues.

What Kinds of Dental Problems Can Cause Neck Pain?

Everything in the body is connected. When we have discomfort in one area, it can radiate to another. Surprisingly, many dental problems can trigger neck, shoulder, and even back pain.

In the sections below, we will explore three of the most common dental problems that can lead to these symptoms, as well as the treatments recommended to alleviate them.

#1: Dental Abscess

Characterized by a pocket of pus or infection in the tooth pulp, a dental abscess can cause a wide range of troubling symptoms. Often, pain becomes severe and may radiate to the jaw, ear, or neck. Dental abscesses can also be accompanied by significant swelling of the jaw, tender lymph nodes, or fever.

Treatment for Dental Abscesses

Because dental abscesses are caused by a bacterial invasion of the pulp chamber, the only way to address the problem is to remove the infection. To do this, root canal therapy is necessary. During this procedure, Dr. Wilderman removes the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues from inside the tooth.

In some instances, the tooth may be too infected to save. If this is the case, an extraction may be recommended.

#2: Bruxism

Stress, bite problems, and jaw misalignment can lead to chronic teeth grinding and clenching. If left untreated, this condition can damage your oral health and your smile. Constant clenching of the jaw muscles can lead to severe discomfort in the head, neck, and shoulders.

Bruxism Treatment

Fortunately, bruxism can be addressed with an oral appliance, also called a night guard, which can be worn while you sleep. This device fits comfortably over the teeth to cushion them and protect them from excessive forces. If you suffer from bruxism, talk to Dr. Wilderman about a custom oral appliance.

#3: TMJ Disorder

If the jaw joints are not seated properly, the associated muscles work overtime to compensate for the imbalance. This can result in a myriad of symptoms, including headaches, earaches, tinnitus, and radiating pain to the neck and shoulders.

TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder) can be caused by a wide range of issues, from arthritis to bruxism to trauma.

TMD Treatment

The treatment recommended for TMD depends on the specific needs of the patient. In many cases, the symptoms can be alleviated with a splint, another type of oral appliance.

This device protects the teeth and moves the jaw slightly forward, into a more favorable position. Other treatment methods include physical therapy exercises, muscle relaxants, and, in severe cases, corrective jaw surgery.

Contact Artistic Expressions Dentistry Today

If you are suffering from neck pain and suspect that a dental issue could be the cause, schedule a visit with Dr. Wilderman. Contact us online anytime or call us at (215) 340-1199.

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Bruce J Wilderman, D.D.S.

Artistic Expressions Dentistry

Doylestown, PA

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