Two months ago I had three wisdom teeth cut out by an oral surgeon. From the moment my senses returned, significant pain ensued which was expected. Now two months later the pain is still around but not exactly like what many might think. My pain is very significant around the jaw joint itself and permeates down along the jaw line toward my chin but then runs down the outside right of my esophagus all the way to my voice box. I went back to the surgeon and immediately he said it was teeth grinding in my sleep (which has never been an issue before), but I am particularly puzzled by this diagnosis. All that I have read about this phenomenon states that the pain is worse in the morning and will decrease as the day progresses. Mine is just the opposite. In the morning when I wake, the pain is minor. By 8-9pm, it has become intolerable which seems backwards to me just using common sense. He checked my jaw alignment, the inside of my molars to ensure there were no teeth protruding, and if any wear on my teeth could be seen, but he determined that all of these things looked fine, then suggested I have always grind my teeth in my sleep. If that is the case, it is certainly news to me. And again I fall back on my confusion about the pain being significantly worse at night before bed. No other pain exists. No headaches, neck aches, nor do my teeth seem tender or painful in any way. The most painful areas which trigger my real concern is around the jaw joint and down along side of my esophagus. It is very difficult to chew, swallow, and even talk or sing. The chewing and swallowing are extremely painful. The only partial relief I can find is when applying a great deal of pressure right around the base of my ear (where one might feel an earache exists) and even more pressure up against my esophagus, to the point of pushing my esophagus to the side and even that doesn't eliminate the pain, it merely helps me swallow even a drink of water. I really hope you can help. Maybe you've encountered a very similar thing? If the pain is so minor in the morning and so intense at night, I simply have trouble getting my head around accepting that this is due to grinding.

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  • John

    John 07 - September - 2012, at 17:20 PM

  • Lisa: I am wondering if this ever resolved for you and how? I have the exact same symptoms more or less 5 months after extraction. John

  • Dr.Ritz

    Dr.Ritz 07 - December - 2011, at 04:09 AM

  • Pain around joint can be because of temporomandibular joint dysfunction after tooth extraction or can occur if you are in habit of clenching or grinding of your teeth. Some other infected tooth in oral cavity can also lead to referred pain in the jaw. TMJ dysfunction seldom can occur after wisdom tooth extraction and complication is usually temporary. TMJ dysfunction can cause pain around ears, tenderness of jaws and can lead to difficulty in mouth opening and pain on chewing. For treatment of TMJ dysfunction, inflammatory meds, heat therapy, rest and in some cases, bite splint therapy is given. If you are in habit of clenching or grinding of teeth, then it can also lead to jaw soreness. Clenching of teeth can occur because of stress or bad bite and causes jaw pain, ear ache, headache, oversensitivity of teeth. If clenching of teeth is because of bad bite, then bite is adjusted and if it is because of stress, then stress level should be reduced and mouth guard is given to relax the jaw muscles. Some infected tooth can also lead to referred pain in the jaw. Dentist can take an x-ray to see whether there is some infected tooth present or not and necessary treatment can be done.  Without clinical examination, it is difficult to give definite diagnosis. You can take second opinion of a dentist.   For more info on complications after tooth extraction, refer to…

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