Nonodontogenic toothache

Tex Dent J. 2000 Jul;117(7):64-74.


Toothache is a common complaint in the dental office. Most toothaches have their origin in the pulpal tissues or periodontal structures. These odontogenic pains are managed well and predictably by dental therapies. Nonodontogenic toothaches are often difficult to identify and can challenge the diagnostic ability of the clinician. The most important step towards proper management of toothache is to be suspicious that the pain may not be of dental origin. The cardinal warning symptoms of nonodontogenic toothache are as follows (28): a. spontaneous multiple toothaches; b. inadequate local dental cause for the pain; c. stimulating, burning, nonpulsatile toothaches; d. constant, unremitting, nonvariable toothaches; e. persistent, recurrent toothaches; f. local anesthetic blocking of the offending tooth does not eliminate the pain; and g. failure of the toothache to respond to reasonable dental therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Facial Pain / classification
  • Facial Pain / etiology
  • Heart Diseases / complications
  • Humans
  • Maxillary Sinus
  • Migraine Disorders / complications
  • Neuralgia / complications
  • Nose Diseases / complications
  • Paranasal Sinus Diseases / complications
  • Periodontitis / complications
  • Periodontitis / physiopathology
  • Pulpitis / complications
  • Pulpitis / physiopathology
  • Somatoform Disorders / complications
  • Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome / complications
  • Toothache / classification
  • Toothache / etiology*