Can a toothache cause neck pain? Toothaches are terrible. Ask anyone who has ever experienced some tooth-related pain, and they will tell you that these pains are indeed terrifying.

A common phrase used by patients to a dentist is “My tooth is killing me.” On the other hand, some patients have tooth problems that may not be “killing” them with pain but cause other discomforts.

Tooth Problems

Our teeth are integral for everyday life. We need them for eating, talking, and smiling, so it is important to take care of them. Failing to do so can surely cause a myriad of health problems in the long run.

Teeth-related problems, after all, can cause a person to suffer and endure various symptoms such as toothaches, migraines, clenching, and jaw problems. An extremely painful toothache can cause a person to break into tears while some merely feel some discomfort.

But which tooth-related problems often cause extreme suffering? And what are the other tooth problems that can affect other parts of the body like the head, neck, or shoulders? Let us take a look at the different tooth-related issues.

Toothaches: The Most Common Causes

When we say toothaches, we often refer to the pain that is coming from the insides of the tooth such as cavities or decay, abscessed tooth, and wisdom tooth.

  • Cavities

Cavities or tooth decay are fairly common as this tooth problem is often caused by poor dental hygiene. And yes, many people overlook the need to care for their teeth properly and consistently.

Those who do not brush their teeth regularly nor visit their dentists as scheduled will definitely end up with cavities. It is likely that these people will end up at the dental chair due to intolerable pain.

Cavities normally form on the tooth’s surface and its root. They tend to work their way slowly by eating the outer protective layer of the teeth or what we call as enamel. It will then create a hole in the tooth, which will result in exposing the nerves inside. Once the nerve is exposed, then the person will definitely suffer from tooth sensitivity.

Tooth decay is addressed by dentists by drilling a hole to remove the cavity. If the root has been severely damaged or is the culprit for the extreme pain, then the dentist may also perform a root canal.

  • Tooth Abscess

A tooth abscess is another common toothache. This occurs when the tooth either has a crack or damage and when there is inflammation around it. The inflammation is characterized by a pocket of pus that has formed inside the tooth, and it is the one that causes severe pain.

An abscessed tooth is normally caused by the bacterial infection. One might experience headaches, extreme pain that shoots all the way from the tooth to the upper head with a tingling sensation. An abscessed tooth requires immediate attention from the dentist who will prescribe painkillers for immediate relief as well as antibiotics to address the swelling and bacteria.

Can a Toothache Cause Neck Pain: A Closer Look on TMJ

There is one tooth-related problem that can cause some discomfort to our upper bodies. This is called the TMJ disorder.

TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint, and it is the point where the joint and skull connect to form a hinge. The TMJ is responsible for letting a person chew, yawn, and talk.

The TMJ disorder is the chronic inflammation of this joint, which may cause difficulty in biting, popping or clicking of the jaw, jaw pain, headaches, and neck pain. So, the answer to the question “Can a toothache cause neck pain?” is “Yes when a person is suffering from a TMJ disorder.

Those with a TMJ disorder can take pain relievers and anti-inflammatories. Dentists may also prescribe muscle relaxants for a couple of days or even weeks to help relieve the symptoms. Taking these medications is a short-term solution though.

There are also non-drug treatments, which are often long-term solutions for TMJ disorders. A dentist may prescribe mouth guards or oral splints, which are devices inserted to cover the teeth. Another option is physical therapy that would include moist heat and ice, as well as ultrasound and exercises to strengthen and stretch the jaw muscles.

Other Teeth-Related Problems That Cause Discomfort

Apart from neck pain, there are also oral cavity problems that cause discomfort in some parts of the body.


The grinding or clenching of teeth or bruxism can also result in discomfort in other parts of the body, mainly the head. This tooth condition is a result of a bad bite, depression, stress, and some medicines.

Those suffering from bruxism may experience tenderness in the jaw and face that lasts for a long time, jaw spasms, and broken and damaged teeth. The grinding sound may also disturb a person’s sleep while the stiffness of the jaw may result in the difficulty of closing and opening the mouth. One can also experience a dull morning headache or additional migraine attacks.

Gum Problems

Some people often confuse gum problems for toothaches. For example, an abscessed gum may be mistaken for an abscessed tooth. However, there is a major difference between the two.

These two are similar as both are inflammation characterized by the pockets of pus. That being said, an abscessed tooth is on the tooth or its roots while the abscessed gum is, as its name suggests, inflammation of the gums. In both cases, there will be some swelling and bitter taste due to the pus.

There are similarities in the treatments as one can take an anti-inflammatory and a painkiller. An abscessed gum will need some lancing while an abscessed tooth may require a root canal or the removal of the affected tooth. Both tooth and gum abscesses must be attended by a dentist immediately.

Great Oral Hygiene Will Go a Long Way!

The tooth may appear to be tiny but may cause many possible illnesses and symptoms. Dentists can never emphasize enough the need for great oral hygiene. After all, many tooth-related problems like cavities and abscessed tooth and gums can be prevented with proper oral hygiene.

A regular trip to the dentist will also go a long way in preventing teeth-related problems that cause so much pain and discomfort!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *